Like just about everything else in the financial realm after 2008, it looks like sovereign wealth funds' importance to the world is being reassessed. In 2007, SWFs were estimated to have $3.6 trillion in assets under management. Today --- well, as of Q1 2009 --- SWF AUM are estimated to be at about $3 trillion. The FT (quoting a Deutsche Bank report) says blame the usual suspects, "the collapse in equities, real estate and other securities hit funds' holdings."
A couple of years ago, SWF were viewed with awe and, in some cases, fear. American politicians thought Asian SWF would swoop in and scoop our precious assets and then have the country by the throat. Deutsche analysts say SWFs are far lesss important than banks, investment funds, insurance companies and pension funds. (See today's FT, from which this post is based.) Banks have $96trillion in assets, investment funes hold $22trillion, insurance firms have $21trillion and pension funds $19 trillion.