Monaco launches global sovereign direct investment structure

The Principality of Monaco has taken a step further in the universe of sovereign wealth investments with the launch of the Monaco Investment Corporation (MIC), that has occurred on 10 May 2017.

The MIC, supported by Prince Albert II of Monaco, will lead a global direct investment program focused on acquiring controlling positions in companies around the world.

The new sovereign direct investment corporation will serve select investors as invited by Scepter and the Principality. It will be a supranational investment vehicle, exclusively open to sovereign and institutional investors.

During its first year, however, the corporation may invite select Forbes 500 families who are residents or friends of Monaco. These families will be chosen by geography and industry focus as founding investors in the corporation and part owners of the management company.

It is understood the MIC will initially lead an investment program in financial institutions and natural resources then will expand into other sectors as investment capabilities are acquired.

The MIC will appoint internal investment managers and financial institutions to serve the corporation. The MIC is positioned to work exclusively with those global financial institutions that have committed to activities in Monaco and to absorb investment managers who wish to move to a permanent capital platform.

“Change the way sovereign wealth and private investors engage with large cap investments”

The corporation is managed by Scepter Partners, an investment syndicate and merchant bank founded by financier Rayo Withanage and led by a committee of industry veterans including Brady Dougan, former CEO of Credit Suisse, William Doyle, former CEO of PotashCorp of Saskatchewan and Bob Diamond, founder and CEO of Atlas Merchant Capital and former CEO of Barclays.

Scepter Partners was established by members of Asian & Gulf based ruling families who gathered a syndicate of sovereign investors and has around $14bn of discretionary assets coming from its stakeholders. Parallel to the launch of the MIC, the company has announced it is moving its headquarters to Monaco.

Commenting on the launch, Prince Albert II of Monaco said: “The Monaco Investment Corporation will change the way sovereign wealth and private investors engage with large cap investments globally.

“The founders of Scepter and I have both reaffirmed our commitment to back this institution and we will proactively use our capital and relationships for its success. We believe in the financial initiatives and strong leadership of Scepter and we are confident that the MIC will grow into an institution for which we can all be very proud.”

Prince Abdul Ali Yil Kabier, a prince of Brunei and co-founder of Scepter, said: “Their Highnesses and I are collectively committed to supporting Monaco becoming a major player in global direct investment and building value for stakeholders through the lens of sustainable development. We have absolute confidence in Scepter’s leadership and support the development vision of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.”

Rayo Withanage, executive chairman of Scepter commented, “We are dedicated to thoughtfully building the MIC into a globally orientated corporation that combines world class investors and operators to develop a powerful stable of companies.”

Mark Thomas, vice chairman of The Sovereign Trust, Scepter’s largest shareholder added: “The MIC is the first time a sovereign direct investment structure marries significant long term capital with some of the most successful individual investors in the world. The MIC exists to work with one of Monaco’s most compelling assets, its friends and residents.”

Adrien Paredes-Vanheule
Adrien Paredes-Vanheule is deputy editor and French-Speaking Europe Correspondent for InvestmentEurope, covering France, Belgium, Geneva and Monaco. Prior to joining InvestmentEurope, he spent almost five years writing for various publications in Monaco, primarily as a criminal and financial court reporter. Before that, he worked for newspapers and radio stations in France, in particular in Lyon.

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