Gillian Tett column in the FT. An excerpt:
. . . After all, the whole point of a sovereign wealth fund (or endowment fund) is that it is supposed to take a long-term perspective, which should enable it to ride out any temporary storms.
However, in the past two years, sovereign funds discovered that the long-term mantra provides far less protection than previously thought. For by investing in private equity and hedge funds, the GIC (and others) ended up being exposed to the vagaries of their co-investors - and some of those had short-term horizons, or mark-to-market triggers. Thus what hurt groups such as the GIC was not just the issue of asset correlation, but a contagion of investor style as well.
That raises some big questions about how the GIC (and others) should conduct themselves. Should they only co-invest with similar investors in the future? Could they now demand detailed lists of their co-investors (even if they hate providing such data themselves)? Could they ask to be paid for assuming illiquidity risk? Or should they dump external managers altogether, and bring that activity "in-house"?
BTW, if someone is moving away from it, it's called the Harvard model. If someone is moving towards it, it's called the Yale model.