Gulf pension funds ramp up assets amid Arab Spring

State pension funds in the Gulf are sharply increasing their investments in new assets on the back of the Arab Spring and demographic shifts, according to Invesco’s Middle East Asset Management Study. Regional state pension funds were forecast to grow assets by 19 percent this year. Morover, the study said that about 15 percent of all new sovereign assets in the region were going into state pension funds. In contrast, Gulf sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are expected to increase assets by an average of just 4 percent, down from 8 percent in 2012. Invesco said that the political unrest in the region had caused governments to pour more cash into pension funds as well as so-called ‘development’ SWFs, which focus their investments on assets that contribute to local economic growth.