» more from Slideshows

The Biggest Sovereign Wealth Funds

Sovereign wealth funds have come into prominence over the past few years, most notably for making large cash infusions into private companies desperate for capital during the financial crisis.

These investment giants have also drawn criticism both for large misplaced investments and significant lack of transparency. To get a clearer picture of these entities, Institutional Investorhas ranked the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds by total assets under management along with a look into how they operate.

Sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) are state-owned funds that generally invest fiscal surpluses of government bodies in order to generate long-term returns, both to grow state savings and to maintain stability of a country’s finances. Funding is usually generated by surpluses arising from commodity exports such as oil or precious metals, assets from foreign exchange reserves or other government surpluses.

According to the rankings, the largest US fund is the Alaska Permanent Fund, with assets under management of $34.94 billion, which ranks it 17th in the world, overseeing only a small fraction of the assets compared to the world’s biggest.

So, what are the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds? Click ahead for the top 10.

By CNBC.com& Institutional InvestorPosted 15 Sept 2010

Source: Institutional Investor || Photo: Karim Sahib | AFP | Getty Images