Saudis to launch $5.3bn sovereign fund
By Andrew England, Middle East Correspondent
Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund is in the "final stages" of launching the kingdom's first sovereign wealth fund. But its early financial commitment will disappoint those hoping for another megafund.
Mansour Al-Maiman, secretary- general of the internally focused PIF, said an investment company wholly owned by PIF would be set up with initial capital of SR20bn ($5.3bn).
The move represents Riyadh's first tentative foray into this class of state-owned investment tool and follows months of debate at the highest level.
Some bankers outside Saudi Arabia had expected a far larger sum. Kuwait's sovereign fund is estimated at $200bn, Qatar's $60bn, and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority's at $500bn to $850bn.
Mr Maiman added: "This does not preclude increasing the size of its capital . . . or otherwise broadening the size of assets under its management in the future as and when appropriate."
Saudi Arabia is the Gulf's largest economy and its declared official foreign assets have soared to more than $330bn, driven by oil.
Mr Maiman said that Riyadh was in the final stages of approving the formation of the investment company, which would be a "portfolio investor focusing on maximising long-term rates of return".
I'm sure the Rothschild Banks are not holding their breath. But what influence will be bought at Citibank or Wells Fargo, or.....suppose they buy US Treasuries and threaten to cash them in at an inopportune moment.
Where is my American developed hydrogen technology fuel cell vehicle?
Barry, John, Hill? Where's your Manhattan project?