Iran Appoints New SWF Head

President Rouhani brings in a former economic minister to lead Iran’s sovereign wealth fund.

(October 8, 2013) -- The new President of the Islamic Republic of Iran has appointed a Canada-educated director to oversee the investments of the county’s sovereign wealth fund (SWF).

Safdar Hosseini is the new director of the National Development Fund of Iran, the country’s government said yesterday, replacing Mohammadreza Farzin.

The fund was valued at around $49.9 billion in March and receives 20% of Iran’s oil revenue each year. Reports in the Tehran Times said the government predicted the value to have risen to around $61 billion by the end of March next year, even using the “worst case scenario”.

Hosseini received his first degree in agriculture from Shiraz University and his PhD in the same field from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.

He was the Iranian minister of labour and social affairs from 2001 to 2004. Following that, Hosseini served as the minister of economy and finance affairs in the same cabinet. Hosseini was replaced in 2005 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president.

Local reports said the appointment was welcomed by members of parliament who are set on reducing the government’s control over the fund and renewing its original mission of turning Iran’s underground wealth to above-ground investments.

The fund was established in 2011, replacing the Oil Stabilisation Fund. Local reports suggest its performance will be under increasing scrutiny. 

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