By Sami Zaptia.
London, 12 February 2020:
The Libyan Investment Authority (LIA) revealed its seven-point reform strategy for 2020, its Media and Relations Office informed the Libya Herald today.
The new 2020 strategy comes in the framework of reorganizing the entity in line with best practice of leading sovereign wealth funds, maximizing market value, achieving its set aims, clearly increasing confidence in governance and management to the UN Sanctions Committee.
The strategy is based on:
1-Developing management, improving operational processes, and improving governance.
2- Disclosure and transparency through reports and a comprehensive assessment of its assets.
3- Auditing, checking and closing financial statements and final accounts for the previous years.
4-Protecting the assets of the LIA.
5-Resolving all existing and potential disputes.
6-Improving the LIA’s compliance with the Santiago Principles.
7- Following-up on the LIA’s frozen funds.
It will be recalled that in October 2019 the LIA had appointed global management consulting firm, Oliver Wyman ‘‘to provide strategic guidance and support’’ from January 2020.
The LIA said that this move was part of its ‘‘transformation to manage its assets as effectively and as efficiently as possible in the interests of the Libyan people’’ and ‘‘part of the ‘‘governance and management reforms being undertaken by the LIA to ensure that it adopts international best practices for sovereign wealth funds’’.
Oliver Wyman’s role is to improve its operational processes, develop its administrative structures and build capacity within the LIA.
This it saw as a key step in ensuring that the LIA complies with UN resolutions and one of the priorities of the strategic plan set by the Board of Directors of the LIA, which has been working for more than six months to improve governance, transparency and institutional reform on the fund for future generations.
Its Board of Trustees, headed by Faiez Serraj, had already given permission to the LIA Board of Directors to appoint external auditors and forensic review experts.
The appointment of Oliver Wyman by the LIA is seen as a long term move by the LIA to improve its reputation and governance to convince the international community to at least ease the UN sanctions. This would enable it to better manage its assets, which are currently making some losses due to the sanctions, and maybe the LIA would be allowed some access to limited funds to help Libya’s ailing economy.
In August 2019, the LIA had announced some internal reforms in order to reduce conflict of interests and improve governance. This included prohibiting board members from holding multiple, supervisory, inspectional or executive positions in the same company or in subsidiaries.
It will be recalled that the LIA’s Board of Directors is chosen by the Board of Trustees which is headed by Faiez Serraj, the head of Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Tripoli.