The sovereign wealth fund of East Timor, the $2.9 billion Petroleum Fund, will have its global custody needs serviced from Sydney.

JPMorgan Worldwide Securities Services was recently selected by the Banking & Payments Authority (BPA) of East Timor, administrator of the Petroleum Fund, as its global custodian. The account will be serviced from JPMorgan’s Sydney office. Abraão de Vasconselos, general manager of the BPA, said JPMorgan would also monitor the performance of the funds managers that it had allocated mandates to. “Within a few years the fund will be supported by fixed interest and equities managers,” de Vasconselos said. The mandate was signed on Monday June 2 in Dili, the capital of Timor Leste. David Edwards and David Brown, from JPMorgan WSS sales and relationship management divisions separately, pursued the deal. The formality was reported by local television news organisations that night. The BPA hired Mercer Sentinel to run the tender, which was managed by Robin Solomon, a principal and senior consultant with the firm. JPMorgan’s Brown said that the custodian would help educate staff of the sovereign wealth fund about custody and financial markets. “;They’re a new entity,”; he said. In the last quarter the fund continued to negotiate contracts with the World Bank and the Bank for International Settlements for non-commercial external manager positions, the fund’s Q1 2008 report stated. It is managed “closely” to the Merrill Lynch zero-to-five year US government bond index. The Petroleum Fund has returned -0.0472 per cent since its August 2005 inception. However for the three months ending March 31, 2008, the Petroleum Fund returned 9.1 per cent. The fund has been ranked the most transparent sovereign wealth fund in South-East Asia, and the third most transparent in the world, by the Petersen Institute for International Economics. JPMorgan WSS is also the custodian of Norges Bank, the Nowegian central bank, which administers the US$396.5 billion Government Pension Fund – Global.

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