Sovereign wealth fund research in US

Updated 08 September 2013
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Sovereign wealth fund research in US

Khalid Alsweilem, former chief counselor and director general of investment at Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), has been appointed a non-resident fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
At the Belfer Center, Alsweilem will focus on the study of sovereign wealth funds, with a particular focus on Saudi Arabia’s reserve sovereign funds and their linkages to the real economy.
Belfer Center Executive Director for Research Gary Samore said Alsweilem would bring to the center a wealth of experience and insight into emerging markets, sovereign funds investments and economic policy, and important issues relating to oil and energy.
“We are very pleased that Khalid is joining us,” said Samore. “We are looking forward to learning from his research on sovereign wealth funds and to his participation in discussions and events with students and faculty around his areas of interest and expertise.”
Alsweilem served in a number of leadership capacities at SAMA before becoming chief counselor and director general of investment. These included directing the investment management department as chief investment officer and serving as director general of the investment department.
Alsweilem led the investment department at SAMA during its considerable growth in assets. The investment department was able to manage risk effectively, he says, “through prudent investment and efficient diversification among global currencies and instruments, with performance exceeding most sovereign funds, successfully overcoming both the 1998 Asian crisis and the 2008 global financial crisis, to become by the end of 2012 the third largest holder of reserves after Japan and China, and the largest among all sovereign funds in the world.”
He was also responsible for SAMA’s monetary policy operations and government debt issuance, and he was the chief coordinator for Saudi Arabia’s successful efforts to obtain high sovereign ratings from major international sovereign rating agencies.
Alsweilem received a BS in industrial engineering from the University of Arizona, an MA in economics from Boston University and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
He completed a two-year post doctoral fellowship in economics and finance at Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in 1991, sponsored by Prince Bander bin Sultan, then the Saudi ambassador to the United States, focusing his work on the application of portfolio theory to government finance in Saudi Arabia, uncertainty in export earnings, and producer-consumer cooperation in the global oil market.
Alsweilem's bio is included in the experts listing on the Belfer Center website.


Britain’s M&S says must accelerate change or die

Updated 23 May 2018
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Britain’s M&S says must accelerate change or die

LONDON: Britain’s Marks & Spencer said on Wednesday it urgently had to modernize or risk fading away as it reported a second straight decline in annual profit and booked a 321 million pounds ($430 million) charge for a store closure program.
The 134-year-old M&S faces unrelenting competition from supermarkets, fashion chains like Zara, H&M and Primark, as well as online giant Amazon, while efforts to revitalize its business are being hampered by ongoing pressure on UK consumers’ spending power.
M&S reset its strategy in November, two months after retail veteran Archie Norman joined as chairman, detailing a five-year program of store closures and relocations, and moves to make its misfiring food business more competitive.
On Tuesday M&S said it would close 100 UK stores by 2022, further accelerating the plan as it strives to make at least a third of sales online.
M&S, one of the best known names in British retail, said it made a pretax profit before one-off items of 580.9 million pounds ($778.6 million) in the year to March 31.
That was ahead of analysts’ average forecast of 573 million pounds but down from 613.8 million pounds made in 2016-17.
After taking account of adjusted items of 514.1 million pounds, including the charge relating to store closures, pretax profit was 66.8 million pounds, a 62 percent fall.
Turnover was broadly flat at 10.7 billion pounds.
“We have to modernize our business to ensure we are competitive and reignite our culture. Accelerated change is the only option,” said M&S.
Shares in M&S have fallen 26 percent over the last year and the firm is in danger of being booted out of the prestigious FTSE 100 index.
The stock closed Tuesday at 292 pence, valuing the business at 4.7 billion pounds.