UAE’s ADIA hires first external equities head

05 September 2014   Category: News, Global, Middle East, United Arab   By Daniel Shane

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) sovereign wealth funds (SWF), has appointed Brian Tipple as its first global head of external equities.

Mr. Tipple, who was previously US-based Key Private Bank’s chief investment officer (CIO), will be responsible for developing the SWF’s external equities strategy, and will oversee all externally-managed stock portfolios. He will be based in Abu Dhabi, where he will report to executive director of external equities, Obaid Al Suwaidi.

At Key, he managed more than US$30 billion in multi-asset, multi-strategy investments, and served both institutional and high-net-worth clients. Prior to his time at Key, he spent more than 20 years with Russell Investments, in positions including CIO for equities.

“Over more than three decades in the asset management industry, Brian has proven himself as an astute investor and leader with a deep understanding of global equity markets,” commented Mr. Al Suwaidi. “He will play an important role in managing the department’s existing investments, while further developing and refining our strategy in the external equities space.”

Founded in 1976, ADIA is responsible for investing the Persian Gulf emirate’s oil surpluses in order to support the diversification of the local economy away from hydrocarbons. According to data from the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, ADIA is the world’s second largest SWF with an estimated $773 billion in assets.

According to its most recent annual report, ADIA’s 20-year annualised return stood at 7.2% last year, down from the 7.6% annualised return it announced for 2012.

In terms of portfolio make-up last year, ADIA said that developed market equities accounted for between 32% and 42%; emerging market equities between 10% and 20%; small cap equities 1% and 5%; government bonds 10% and 20%; credit 5% and 10%; alternatives 5% and 10%; real estate 5% and 10%; private equity 2% and 8%; infrastructure 1% and 5%.

ADIA said that last year, approximately 75% of its assets were managed by external fund managers.

The wealth fund has been bulking up its internal capabilities of late. In addition to the appointment of Mr. Tipple, in May it hired former BP vice president and chief economist Christof Ruhl as its first global head of research.