Bankers Wanted for Turkey’s Planned $200 Billion Wealth Fund

  • Fund said to be recruiting for positions including CFO, CIO
  • Turkish government working on mass transfer of assets to fund

Turkey is seeking to recruit senior bankers to help run the country’s newly-established sovereign wealth fund, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Turkey Wealth Fund Management Inc., approved by parliament in August, is working with international executive search firms to hire for positions including chief investment officer and chief financial officer, said the people, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private. Potential candidates are already being interviewed, they said.

Turkey is setting up Turkiye Varlik Fonu Yonetimi AS - as the fund is known in Turkish - to finance large infrastructure projects such as airports, seaports, roads and railroads across the country, with Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci saying its eventual asset size could reach $200 billion. The government will transfer its holdings in the country’s biggest bank by assets, a state-owned phone company, Turkish Airlines and a oil-and-gas producer to the fund, it said this week.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to boost economic growth after a series of terrorist attacks damaged consumer confidence and tourism, while Fitch Ratings last month became the last of the major credit agencies to cut the country’s debt to junk status.

The country will securitize national assets with the wealth fund and "will nationalize the mechanism of transforming savings to investment with this fund," Erdogan’s senior adviser Cemil Ertem said in column in Milliyet newspaper this week.

The government appointed Mehmet Bostan, formerly head of the government’s privatization administration, as the fund’s chairman. Senior presidential adviser, Yigit Bulut, Borsa Istanbul Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Himmet Karadag and academics Kerem Alkin and Oral Erdogan were appointed to the board of the wealth fund, according to the country’s trade registry.

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