29 August 2012

Nigeria: FG Appoints Ex-JP Morgan MD to Head Sovereign Fund

Photo: Vanguard
Oil refinery

Former Managing Director of JP Morgan Uche Orji has been appointed to run the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund (NSWF) for the next five, the Minister of Finance said yesterday.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also said at a press briefing in Abuja that Alhaji Mahey Rasheed will serve as chairman of the board with six other members. Alhaji Rasheed was a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and a member of the Board of First Bank.

The minister also named Mrs. Stella Ojekwe-Onyejeli as Chief Risk Officer of the fund.

Other members of the board include; Mr. Arnold Ekpe, Mr. Jide Zeitlin, Mrs. Bili Awosika, Barrister Bisi Soyebo and Alhaji Hassan Usman.

The position of the Chief Investment Officer was not announced yesterday because, "upon completion of due diligence, the candidate for Chief Investment Officer has been dropped and the position will be re-advertised shortly," the minister said.

The management team will commence work on October 2, with $1 billion set aside for it.

Okonjo-Iweala said the SWF will run side by side with the Excess Crude Account, which currently has a balance of $7.35 billion.

The initial idea was to close the Excess Crude Account when the SWF takes effect.

Governors had initially opposed the establishment of the SWF but later gave their approval. The governors normally pressurize the president to take certain amounts from the Excess Crude Account for them to share.

The management team were chosen after a process that lasted almost a year.

Before the team was selected, 730 applications were received for three executive positions - Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director (Investments) and Executive Director, (Risk).

Forty of these were listed by KPMG which assisted in sourcing suitable candidates and 16 candidates were short listed before the final three were selected.

With this development, the country is firmly on the path to reaping the benefits of this tried and tested strategy for achieving fiscal prudence and economic transformation.

"The establishment of an institutional foundation for the Sovereign Wealth Fund is a victory for all Nigerians and a credit to the President who assented to the Bill in May last year," the Minister said.

The SWF has three components - Future Generations Fund; Nigerian Infrastructure Fund and Stabilization Fund. Each of the fund will attracts 20 percent of any SWF finding, while "the remaining 40 percent will be decided by the macroeconomic condition of the economy."

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