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Vale Sheikh Ahmed of ADIA

The managing director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, Sheikh Ahmed bin Zayed al Nehayan, died on March 26 in a glider accident in Morocco. His legacy to the investment management industry is a commitment to improved transparency, disclosure and cooperation.

Under his leadership ADIA claimed to be at the forefront of efforts to improve the understanding of sovereign wealth funds and promote the free flow of global capital and investments.

ADIA released its first annual report only two weeks ago, in which Sheik Ahmed highlighted his aim of enhancing the understanding of ADIA’s governance, investment strategy, portfolio structure, and approach to risk and its staff. Until then, the SWF had a somewhat closed-book approach to disclosure.

In 2008 ADIA reached an understanding with the US Department of Treasury and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation that laid out policy principles and standards for investments by sovereign wealth funds and countries receiving SWF investments.

And later that year ADIA became co-chair of the International Working Group of 26 SWFs.

ADIA employs more than 1,200 people and has a sophisticated approach to its investment structure investing in developed and emerging market equities, small cap equities, bonds, credit, hedge funds, real estate, private equity and infrastructure. ADIA does not disclose its total assets but it is estimated to be around $850 billion.

Sheikh Ahmad was also the chairman of the board of trustees of the Zayed Foundation for Charitable and Humanitarian Works.

He was the younger brother of UAE President Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nehayan.

A three-day period of mourning has been announced in Abu Dhabi.

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