According to a report released by NDF Public Relations Department, participating in NDFI’s Second Forum held on May 17, 2022, Global SWF Ranking Managing Director reviewed the Fund’s status and to his surprise, anticipated that given the outstanding size of its balance sheet and independence attained from the government, NDF would finally manage to realize its objectives.
“Iran’s NDF finally unveiled a secret, the international media had long wondered about. Last Saturday, the Fund revealed the latest state of its balance sheet, and to the surprise of many of the experts, the total assets equals US$ 139 billion, including US$ 110 billion in loans and US$ 29 billion in cash assets”. “Based on the findings of Global SWF Ranking, such numbers make NDF the world’s 17th largest SWF in the world”, adds Global SWF report.
NDF Survival in Dire Straits
“Iran is in dire straits now. The Government keeps trying to get back on 2015 nuclear deal which relieved some of the financial sanctions for a short period of time. According to IMF, since the US walked out of nuclear pact in 2018, Iran’s economy has shrunk, the inflation has increased dramatically, and the fiscal deficit has widened further even with a breakeven point of circa US$ 400/barrel. Following the strict fiscal rules and regulations started in 2011, NDF has yet been able to survive. Based on the lessons learned in the past and considering the pitfalls and defects of Oil Stabilization Fund (OSF), NDF was designed to receive up to 32% of oil revenues by the end of the 5th Development Plan and its resources were not supposed to be used for budget deficits. However, during Covid-19 pandemic, the Government spent a few billion to rescue Tehran Stock Exchange, and succeeded. But, NDF survived and then kept growing relying on oil prices”, Global SWF report continues.
Three Significant Changes in Iran’s NDF
The report by Global SWF then highlights NDFI’s Second Forum, held on May 17, 2022, and adds, “The forum was well attended. Since then, there have been some significant changes: in the Fund’s strategies: First, withdrawal from the Fund has been stopped until the loans supplied to the Government are repaid; Second, the Fund’s name and nature may change from “Development” to “Savings”; and third, the Fund will start investment in domestic and international equities aimed at increasing the rate of return and capital increase.”
“This is not the first time NDFI plans to invest overseas and to collaborate with international bodies. In 2019, Iran’s NDF entered and signed MoUs with foreign investors, including Italy’s CDP Equity, Kazakhstan’s Baiterek Holdings and Korean ExIm Bank. The Fund has also been a member of International Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds (IFSWF) for many years, and it has published Santiago Principles Self-Assessments in 2016 and 2019.”
NDF’s Objectives Would Finally Come Real
In Global SWF report, the objectives of the Fund have been evaluated as realizable ones. The report restates, “Given the sheer size of the Fund’s balance sheet and independence attained from the government, NDF would finally achieved its objectives. In collaboration with Global SWF, the Fund is now publishing more information in NDF’s official website to improve its governance, sustainability and resilience. It is to be noted that NDF’s 2022 scores and performance will be published, along with other top 199 SW Funds of the world, on July 1, 2022”.
Iran’s NDF, not been ranked since 2014, used to be the 35th World SWF among 169 SWFs. Given the current achievements, the Fund, with an 18-standing progress, was ranked as the world’s 17th largest SWF by Global SWF Ranking.
Global SWF, based in New York and a reliable reference for foreign investors, is a knowledge-based institute focusing on ranking and analyzing Sovereign Wealth Funds all around the world, with an ultimate mission to promote a better understanding of and connectivity into SWFs, adds the report released by NDF Public Relations Department.