Managing Libya's $67bn Sovereign Wealth Fund

"We are not going to reinvent the wheel," said Mr Breish, "we will learn from other sovereign wealth funds … we are close to some ... we would start with a very very conservative approach, and be guided by our investment managers … it's still a work in progress."

I don't think you can pursue returns of 6 and 7 and 8 percent on a very conservative strategy – not these days at least."

But in his vision, those investment decisions would not be made in-house: “We decided that we were not going to manage any more any investments, we would become a manager of managers … We would [out]source the investment managers, we would hire best-of-breed investment consultants, advisers on risk, on [asset] allocation, on investment theory."


But with close to 85 percent of the fund subject to sanctions, the LIA's ability to put this plan into action is somewhat restricted, at least for now. "If the situation deteriorates," Breish says, "I would request that the remaining 15 percent are also frozen."

I'm expanding my legal dept, I'm expanding my compliance department … we're closing some companies, we're liquidating some companies, we are looking at merging some areas ... We won't really go full force until there is clarity as to 'is there a government?'; 'is there a mandate for the LIA?'; 'will there be new people or will we get a second mandate?'"


And the question of a second mandate -- his three-year contract finishes mid-2016 -- brings us to the burning topic of his position. Appointed by then Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, in his role as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of LIA, Breish says he 'stepped aside' from operational control -- others say he 'resigned' -- while he was investigated under Libya's Political Isolation Law, suspected of having been too close to the Gaddafi regime.

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