Conference date

19 Sep 2020


Tokyo, Japan



September 19, 2020
Tokyo, Japan

Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina
Graduate School of Business Administration, Hitotsubashi University

Keynote Speaker
William Megginson
Professor & Price Chair in Finance
George Lynn Cross Research Professor
Michael F. Price College of Business, The University of Oklahoma

The Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute defines a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) as “a state-owned investment fund or entity that is commonly established from balance of payments surpluses, official foreign he proceeds of privatizations, governmental transfer payments, fiscal surpluses, and/or receipts resulting from resource exports”. They invest worldwide, in myriad of asset classes (stocks, treasury bonds, etc.,) and sectors (financial, real estate and infrastructure, power generation, sports, commodities, airlines, manufacturing, etc.,). SWFs have been around for more than 50 years, but came under scrutiny about a decade and a half ago. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) brought to light their aggressive acquisition spree around the world, and their role as liquidity providers to failing financial and non-financial firms. The particularity of these funds in that they are owned by the government on behalf of its citizens. The bailout programs that resulted from the GFC also underlined the phenomenon of “capitalist states” as governments started following pace with acquisitions worldwide.

The number of SWFs and their assets (foreign and domestic) under management have grown sustainably, engulfing developed and developing countries, as well as rich and poor countries across all continents. A 2016 report by PWC titled “Sovereign investors 2020: A Growing Force”, identifies SWFs are unavoidable major players in global markets in the years to come. Yet to date, little is still known about these entities, their motivations, their asset allocation, their overall behavior and their impact at the firm and the economy level. In a recent review of the literature on SWFs, Fotak et al. (2017) note that “extant research has failed to provide answers to some of the most fundamental, and most important, questions surrounding SWFs. Foremost is the question whether SWFs can truly become vehicles financing economic development, to the benefit of the populations of the sponsoring countries”.

Because of the sheer importance of SWFs—by June 2018, they have accumulated $7.8 trillion assets under management compared to $3.3 trillion in 2004 according to data from the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute—, policy debates have emerged raising transparency, corporate governance issues and regulation. Corruption scandals such as those related to Korea Investment Corp (KIC) or the Malaysian State Fund 1MBD, as well as conflicting objectives as state-owned investors, have increased the scrutiny of SWFs’ governance and transparency. Equally important, collapsing oil prices (for natural resource dependent funds) and global currency imbalances (for currency reserves based funds), have created a challenging, changing environment for SWFs around the world.

For this Special Issue, we invite high quality theoretical and empirical research that develops a better understanding of SWFs, their objectives, level of activism, and effects. We are interested in papers that employ rich new datasets, exploit exogenous shocks to the economy, and address contemporary concerns on transparency, corporate governance and regulation. The following are some selected examples, in no way comprehensive, of possible research topics:

1. The evolution of SWFs and over time
2. The impact of SWFs on firm transparency (corporate governance)
3. The impact of SWFs on firm level outcomes and restructuring
4. Does the SWF pay an activist role in target corporate governance?
5. Do SWFs decrease the probability of default of target firms?
6. What was the impact of SWFs on banks around the world?
7. What are the effects on bond markets?
8. How can we distinguish between the political and the financial/economic objectives of SWFs?
9. What the economic impact of SWFs acquisitions on the local economy?
10. How SWFs of developing (poor) countries differ from those of developed (rich) countries? What are the challenges and dilemmas faced by SFWs of developing countries?
11. Do SWFs spur liberalization or protectionism?
12. What is the impact of SWFs acquisitions on capital markets?
13. How do legal and institutional factors affect SWFs acquisitions?
14. The internal and external governance structure of SWFs
15. Cycles of acquisitions by SWFs and governments
16. SWFs and Access to Finance
17. The social role of SWFs
18. Choice of entry modes by SWFs
19. How SWFs adjust their asset allocation strategies to minimize the impact of the revenue reduction.
20. How does political pressure from domestic governments affect SWF investment strategies?
21. Should countries set up SWFs in the first place? Are there certain countries for which a SWF is more appropriate?
22. Do SWFs from unstable or autocratic regimes export political risk to their target companies?
23. How do SWFs mitigate those risks for target companies and, in general, how do they mitigate opposition to their entry in new markets?
24. What role do SWFs play in venture capital markets? Are SWFs contributing to the paucity of tech IPOs by providing capital for late-stage financing?
25. What role do SWFs play in infrastructure financing? Are they in a position to make up for private-sector shortfalls?
26. We see more and more reports of SWF lending directly to firms. How do SWF loans compare to private sector loans? Do these loans lead to a hitherto unexplored channel of influence?


This one-day academic conference aims at creating a forum of discussion among distinguished scholars on the conference theme. We will accept a small number of papers to provide rich interactions and discussions among participants. The time allocated to each paper is as follows: 25 minutes for the presenter, 15 minutes for the discussant, and 10 minutes for the audience. The conference will conclude with a panel discussion by renowned scholars, including Professor Douglas Cumming (Florida Atlantic University; Editor of the Journal of Corporate Finance) and Veljko Fotak (University at Buffalo), and April Knill (Florida State University).

The conference will include a keynote speech by Professor William Megginson. He is Professor and Price Chair in Finance at the University of Oklahoma’s Michael F. Price College of Business. From 2002 to 2007, he was a voting member of the Italian Ministry of Economics and Finance’s Global Advisory Committee on Privatization. During spring 2008, he was the Fulbright Tocqueville Distinguished Chair in American Studies and Visiting Professor at the Université-Paris Dauphine. He received the University of Oklahoma’s top research prize, a George Lynn Cross Research Professorship, in April 2010. Professor Megginson’s research interest has focused in recent years on the privatization of state-owned enterprises, sovereign wealth fund investments, energy finance, and investment banking principles and practices. He has published refereed articles in several top academic journals, including the Journal of Economic Literature, the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Review of Financial Studies, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, and Foreign Policy. His co-authored study documenting significant performance improvements in recently privatized companies received one of two Smith Breeden Distinguished Paper Awards for outstanding research published in the Journal of Finance during 1994. He is author or co-author of nine textbooks. Professor Megginson’s research has been frequently cited in academic and professional publications. His articles have been downloaded over 48,000 times from the Social Sciences Research Network, and his books and articles have been cited over 62,000 times (according to Google Scholar). His co-authored privatization survey article, published in the Journal of Economic Literature in 2001, is the eighth most widely cited finance article published since 2000, and the most widely cited article published in 2001. He is an editor of the Journal of Corporate Finance, and has served as a privatization consultant for the New York Stock Exchange, the OECD, the IMF, the World Federation of Exchanges, and the World Bank. He has visited 85 countries during his lifetime, and has lived in Spain, Pakistan, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, and Saudi Arabia, in addition to the United States.


Paper submission is free. Participants are responsible for covering their transportation and accommodation expenses. A registration fee will be charged to participants at the conference.


Conference date: September 19, 2020 (Tokyo, Japan)
Keynote speech and reception: September 19, 2020
Conference submission deadline: April 30, 2020
Conference acceptance decision: May 31, 2020

Papers should be submitted at For information or questions about the conference or special issue, please contact us at with the subject heading: “Conference on SWFs”