Our dataset reveals that, in 2017, SWFs completed more direct equity investments than they did in 2016 (303 versus 290), but that the value of these has largely stayed flat: $52.6 billion, compared to 2016’s $51.4 billion.

Consequently, their median equity cheque was $50 million, just over half that of 2016, which was $90 million. Excluding real assets, such as bricks-and-mortar properties and infrastructure projects, this trend was even more marked. In this case, the median equity investment was $27 million, plummeting from that of previous years: $60 million in 2016, and $58 million in 2015.

We observed four investment trends in sovereign wealth fund direct investment activity that may explain this observation:

  1. Private market deal activity slows
  2. A greater emphasis on partnership and co-operation with other institutions
  3. A changing approach to the consumer goods and services sector
  4. Taking India public