PIF is going global, exploring new horizons
Established in 1971, the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) is entering a new era with its presence in the US and the UK. As part of its restructuring under Saudi Vision 2030, the fund wants to be closer to its global portfolios for monitoring purposes and to be able to take timely measures to seize opportunities in these two key markets.
The fund’s new vision is focused on international investment opportunities in sectors such as technology, health care, financial services and entertainment.
It is focused on exploring investment opportunities in the US, the UK, Russia, India and other countries. Since 2015, the PIF has made it to the top 10 world’s largest sovereign wealth funds with local and global assets under management approaching $400 billion.
Under its new guidelines to invest globally — including in publicly listed securities — disclosure and transparency are becoming the norm of its public profile. Having its first international offices in London and New York will enhance the decision-making process, as well as facilitating the fund to conduct all related corporate actions with much ease.
For many years, the UAE and Kuwait, two of the top 10 world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, have been operating through offices in London and New York. When I was living in London during the 1990s and 2000s, I frequently visited these funds offices and met their managing directors and senior staff. Their respective mandates were to explore opportunities in the UK and other European markets as well as actively managing them post acquisition. The proximity of these offices to their acquired assets have contributed to their success. And with travel restrictions being imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic, having a presence in these key financial markets is becoming imperative no matter how effective and efficient the telecommunication channels and apps are.
As the PIF is becoming one of the fastest-growing sovereign wealth funds with an ambitious target for bargain hunts globally, having an international network of offices, with London and New York as a start, is crucial to achieving its target. In addition to the benefits highlighted above, the physical presence of the PIF in key international markets will help to facilitate the know-how transfer from these companies in its global portfolio to the local Saudi market — mainly in biopharma, artificial intelligence, renewable energy and other key sectors.
Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.