Abu Dhabi Investment Authority or ADIA, as it is popularly known, welcomed us at its Abu Dhabi headquarters by providing access to a panel of the fund’s seasoned professionals as well as promising young talent. ADIA is one of the largest and most sophisticated Sovereign Wealth Funds in the world and the discussion we had with various members of its team was illuminating.
The story of ADIA is 40 years old and the individuals we met shared their individual stories with us. A common theme was how fortunate they felt to be part of ADIA. Established in 1976, the fund is independent from the government and responsible for investing to secure the long term prosperity of Abu Dhabi. It does so in a prudent, effective and innovative manner through a team of approximately 1700 hailing from as many countries the fund has invested in.
ADIA takes a long-term approach to investing and has, over the years, built its internal capacity and capability, while also building long-term relationships with major financial institutions all over the world. Today the fund carefully prepares the next generation of its Emirati employees by identifying and developing potential employees from high school, providing scholarships and training.
ADIA’s expatriate workers are drawn from more than 60 countries. The fund cites its diversity of nationalities and skills as a key strength. A number of employees we meet describe adapting to living in a new country as relatively easy: “They make the transition easy for you,” we hear often, while people also point out that Abu Dhabi is considered very family-orientated.
Leaving the meeting, we were convinced that ADIA continues to follow the mission it was created for in 1976 and stands for something more than a typical investment fund.
~ Munkhnaran Bayarlkhagva, second year Middle East Studies concentrator, SAIS