Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan has been named chairman of the $790 billion Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, a major investment in the United Arab Emirates capital. Sovereign wealth funds, a sign his influence is growing.
Sheikh Tanon He is the UAE’s national security adviser, but he is also chairman of state-owned holding company ADQ, the country’s largest bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, and International Holdings. IHC, a listed group linked to the ruling family, has enjoyed a stunning rise to become the second-largest company in the region by market capitalization after Saudi Aramco.
He succeeds the late Chairman Adia Sheikh Khalifa, the former UAE president, died last year and was succeeded by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, brother of Sheikh Thanoun. The new president has yet to name a successor.
Founded in 1976, Adia has been investing in overseas capital markets for decades, becoming one of the most important sources of funds for global asset management companies in the region. It also dabbles in asset classes such as private equity, real estate and infrastructure.
Sovereign wealth funds as a vehicle to deploy excess hydrocarbon revenues to generate long-term returns for governments.
Sheikh Tahnoon rose to prominence, taking on sensitive foreign policy issues as national security adviser. These include repairing ties with Qatar and Turkey, with which the UAE clashed during the Arab Spring, while also trying to manage tensions with regional rival Iran.
His long-term interests as a domestic and global investor also stand out. IHC is a public company spun out of the private Royal Group long controlled by Sheikh Tahnoon, owning Surge confuses bankers Stock Exchange in Abu Dhabi for the past few years. ADQ has also become one of the most active investors in the regional market.
His promotion comes as Abu Dhabi cements its position as one of the few capital-surplus regions in the world, fueled by high oil prices. Bankers and companies have been drawn to the UAE’s capital to raise capital.
But like other Gulf states, the UAE is also looking to reinvest income domestically. The country is trying to adapt its oil-dependent economy to a post-oil future and tighten control over how its capital is deployed overseas.
Earlier this week, ADQ and IHC, chaired by Sheikh Tahnoon, partnered with General Atlantic to launch a global asset manager in Abu Dhabi.