China Investment Corporation (CIC) finally has a new boss. But compared to most companies, a change of the top at a sovereign wealth fund doesn't always mean a change of tack. A sovereign fund's proximity to the government and its investment approach are critical when it comes to determining the importance, or relative unimportance, of who sits at the top.
Ding Xuedong, a career bureaucrat, may be relatively unknown in global financial circles. That needn't matter. His predecessor Lou Jiwei, who was promoted to finance minister in March, also lacked experience when he took charge of CIC when it was established in 2007.
But that didn't stop CIC from growing; the fund has more than doubled in size and now manages roughly 15 percent of China's $3.4 trillion foreign currency reserves. CIC's domestic portfolio is dominated by legacy stakes in the country's biggest banks and the fund outsources most of its overseas investments to external money managers. Unless the fund gets a big injection of new money, it's unlikely Ding will get a chance to create waves.
The author is Una Galani, a Reuters Breakingviews columnist.