Saudi Public Investment Fund emerges as most valuable and second-strongest sovereign wealth fund globally

Saudi Public Investment Fund emerges as most valuable and second-strongest sovereign wealth fund globally
Brand Finance ranks Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund as the most valuable and second-strongest sovereign wealth fund in the world. (File/AFP)
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Updated 05 June 2024
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Saudi Public Investment Fund emerges as most valuable and second-strongest sovereign wealth fund globally

Saudi Public Investment Fund emerges as most valuable and second-strongest sovereign wealth fund globally
  • Asset Management and Sovereign Wealth Funds 2024 report released

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has topped the list of the most valuable brands among global sovereign wealth funds, according to a report by UK-based brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance.

The list includes 50 of the largest asset management companies and sovereign wealth funds in the world.

The inaugural Asset Management and Sovereign Wealth Funds 2024 report, which was released on Wednesday, was based on a survey of more than 4,400 entities around the world, including companies, individuals and media from the investment and financial sectors.

The Brand Finance report estimated the value of the PIF’s brand at $1.1 billion (more than SR4.1 billion), making it the highest among the regional and international sovereign funds included in the list.

 

 

It said the PIF emerged as the world’s second-strongest SWF brand in terms of brand strength, with a score index of 62.1 out of 100, and is “one of only three SWF brands to earn an A+ brand strength rating.”

The report added that the PIF had ambitious growth prospects in light of its targets for the year 2030, which contributed to enhancing the value of its brand, especially as it distinguished itself among other sovereign funds in its focus on investing in the local economy, unlocking the capabilities of new sectors and creating job opportunities, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“Through this unique approach to ranking asset managers and SWF funds, Brand Finance has revealed a novel and useful new insight: actively managed asset managers tend to have higher brand value to AUM (assets under management) rations,” the report said.

“As the most active SWF by a large margin, PIF epitomizes this trend with a brand value to AUM ratio that is almost double that of its nearest SWF competitor,” it added.

 

 

The report stated that the advanced position of the fund’s brand was due to its influential economic activity and investment performance.

Those surveyed expressed a positive outlook toward the PIF’s innovative strategy and its role as a catalyst for promoting growth and development.

The report added: “Looking ahead, PIF has ambitious growth prospects, aiming to reach USD2 trillion in AUM by 2030. This ambition has also turbocharged PIF’s brand value and brand strength as it has adopted bold investment strategies that contract other SWF brands.

“PIF is also the 15th most valuable brand in a combined ranking of both asset managers and SWFs, a reflection of how PIF leadership envisions the fund as an asset manager, SWF, and a national development entity.”

The value of assets under management at the PIF has reached more than $930 billion, and the fund works to develop strategic sectors and opportunities that will contribute to shaping the future of the global economy, the SPA reported.

The fund is an active investor and a major driver of economic transformation in the Kingdom, and since 2017 it has launched 94 new companies and contributed to creating more than 644,000 job opportunities at the local level, the SPA added.

Brand Finance has been working for more than 25 years to evaluate the strength of brands and determine their financial value, and publishes more than 100 reports classifying brands in all sectors and countries.


Beehives of Saudi Arabia's Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old

Beehives of Saudi Arabia's Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old
Updated 20 min 50 sec ago
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Beehives of Saudi Arabia's Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old

Beehives of Saudi Arabia's Maysan believed to be over 1,000 years old
  • Located between the Sarawat mountains and Tihamah, the apiaries feature beautiful engineering with remarkable design specifications for honey production
  • They are intricately designed with multiple levels and floors nestled between steep, solid mountains

TAIF: The beehives of Maysan governorate, located in western Saudi Arabia's Sarawat mountain range, showcase stunning archaeological scenes of some of the most important and impressive environmental engineering formations. These include approximately 1,200 beehives that were a major source of daily sustenance for the early inhabitants of the place.

The apiaries in Maysan have become a primary source for the production and sale of Saudi honey, which is deeply embedded in the Kingdom’s culture and trade. These sites date back to ancient history, highlighting the community’s longstanding interest in honey in Maysan.

Abdul Wahab Al-Khudaidi, a history enthusiast, confirmed that the Al-Kharafi apiaries are situated between the Sarawat mountains and Tihamah and are believed to be over 1,000 years old.

The beehives of Maysan are paved with stones in intricate geometric patterns, spanning up to four levels. (SPA)

These apiaries feature beautiful engineering with remarkable design specifications for honey production. The structures are paved with stones in intricate geometric patterns, spanning up to four levels.

The site is difficult to access, requiring navigation through a designated path by an experienced individual. The honeycombs are reinforced with solid stones and columns to support the floors, which are constructed from large, closely positioned stones in balanced shapes.

Al-Khudaidi noted that the ancient beehives in the villages of Maysan and Bani Al-Harith, which are part of Makkah province, are intricately designed with multiple levels and floors nestled between steep, solid mountains.

The hives dating back nearly 10 centuries, serve as evidence of the place’s authenticity and deep-rooted history. The famous mountains are a summer resort for visitors and locals, a historical legacy celebrated in their poems, and home to towering forts and castles that highlight the importance of the villages' history.

An ancient tower overlooks the Sarawat mountains in Maysan governorate of Makkah province. (SPA)

The structures testify to the rare profession practiced by the ancestors in beekeeping and honey extraction, producing various types of honey such as Acacia, Summer, and Seyal.

Al-Khudaidi pointed out that the initial apiaries were carefully located between mountain peaks to benefit from the diverse array of local aromatic plants.

These mountains host more than 50 species, including Rue, Basil, Marjoram, Lavender, among other wildflowers.
 


Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris

Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris
Updated 17 min 31 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris

Saudi Arabia concludes participation at Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris
  • The pavilion, organized by the General Authority for Military Industries, sought to welcome investors from all over the world

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia concluded its participation in the global defense and security exhibition Eurosatory 2024 in Paris on Friday, where officials sought to boost partnerships with France, the state news agency SPA reported.

The Saudi pavilion participating in the exhibition, which started on Monday, saw wide interaction and a large presence to view the latest achievements, products and developments of the military industries sector in the Kingdom, SPA reported.

The pavilion, organized by the General Authority for Military Industries, sought to welcome investors from all over the world looking to invest in the military industries sector, and the efforts made to develop research and innovation in the sector.

It also reviewed the most prominent policies, legislation and incentives in Saudi Arabia that contributed to stimulating the process of localization and empowerment of the sector, enhancing supply chains and investment opportunities, and the importance of concerted efforts to achieve the military industries sector strategy.

On the sidelines of Eurosatory 2024, the governor of GAMI, Ahmed Al-Ohali, took part in the activities of a Saudi-French Day, where he spoke about building industrial and defense partnerships between Saudi Arabia and France, while the deputy governor of the authority’s empowerment sector, Saleh Al-Aqili, touched on the regulatory framework and organization of local content policy in the Kingdom.

Several meetings were also held at the pavilion with other entities participating in the exhibition, where a number of initiatives and partnerships were instigated.

Many parties from the public and private sectors joined forces to showcase at the pavilion, including the Ministry of Investment, represented by the Invest in Saudi Arabia platform (Invest Saudi), the General Authority for Defense Development, and a number of Saudi national institutions and companies specializing in the field of military industries.

They included the Saudi Arabian Military Industries, Saudia Technic, Life Shield, Scopa, the Arabian International Company, the Saudi Leather Industries Company, the Al-Esnad Military Industries Group, KRMC, and the World Defense Show.

The Kingdom’s military industries are localizing and empowering the sector in “attracting qualitative investments that will effectively contribute to building a prosperous economy and a sustainable industry,” SPA reported.


Boeing may avoid criminal charges over violations: report

Boeing may avoid criminal charges over violations: report
Updated 46 min 22 sec ago
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Boeing may avoid criminal charges over violations: report

Boeing may avoid criminal charges over violations: report
  • After substantial internal debate, Justice officials “appear to have concluded that prosecuting Boeing would be too legally risky,” the NY Times reported

NEW YORK: The US Department of Justice is considering a deal with Boeing that would avoid criminal prosecution of the aerospace giant but may appoint a federal supervisor to oversee company progress on safety improvements, The New York Times reported Friday.
People familiar with the discussions told the daily that the terms of the possible alternative settlement, known as a deferred prosecution agreement, or DPA, are still subject to change.
A DOJ official involved in the case, Glenn Leon, chief of the fraud section criminal division, said in an email to a civil party lawyer seen by AFP that the department “has not made a decision” on the path it will take with respect to Boeing.
The DOJ is determining its next steps after concluding in May that Boeing could be prosecuted for violating a criminal settlement following two fatal 737 MAX crashes in 2018 and 2019 which claimed 346 lives.
But the Times, citing sources familiar with the discussions, reported that after substantial internal debate, Justice officials “appear to have concluded that prosecuting Boeing would be too legally risky.”
Officials also reportedly believe that the appointment of a watchdog would be “a quicker, more efficient way” to ensure safety and quality control improvements are made, the newspaper said.
Last month, the DOJ told the judge in the case it would give its decision no later than July 7.
The DOJ’s Leon emailed Paul Cassell, a lawyer for families in the criminal case against Boeing, saying the Times reporting “was simply not correct.”
Boeing did not respond to AFP requests for reaction.


The troubled planemaker had contested the department’s conclusions in mid-June, but has recognized the gravity of the safety crisis and CEO Dave Calhoun told Congress that Boeing is “taking action and making progress.”
In January 2021, Justice announced an initial DPA in which Boeing agreed to pay $2.5 billion to settle fraud charges over certification of the 737 MAX.
But since early 2023, the manufacturer has experienced multiple production and quality control problems on its commercial aircraft, as well as mid-flight incidents including in January when a door plug panel flew off an Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9.
The DOJ says Boeing’s violation of several provisions of the initial agreement, including measures requiring it to bolster its internal controls to detect and deter fraud, opened the company to prosecution.
Victims’ families have called for the criminal prosecution of Boeing and its executives, and are seeking a nearly $25 billion fine.
A new DPA would allow the US government to resolve Boeing’s violations without a trial.
That could serve as a victory of sorts for Boeing, a company seen as critical to the US aviation industry as well as national security.
Cassell, the families’ lawyer, warned against sealing an agreement avoiding trial.
“We hope that the Department is not using its claim to have not yet made a ‘final decision’ as a ploy to gain additional time to hammer out a DPA deal with Boeing,” Cassell said in a statement.
“The first DPA deal failed. There is no reason to think a second one would be any better,” he said, adding it’s time for “moving forward with a trial and obtaining a guilty verdict against Boeing.”
Such lawsuits in the past have forced companies into filing for bankruptcy, the Times reported, and a conviction could potentially prevent Boeing from receiving government contracts.
Boeing’s defense, space and security segment generated $25 billion in 2023, nearly a third of the company’s sales.


Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity

Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity
Updated 56 min 13 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity

Saudi Arabia urges all nations to work together to prioritize cybersecurity
  • The Kingdom’s representative to the UN says this is particularly important given the role of cybersecurity in protecting vital national interests and security
  • He tells the UN Security Council the sector has developed rapidly and dynamically, and helped to advance the field domestically, regionally and globally

LONDON: The need for a safe and reliable cyberspace that can help enable growth and prosperity is more urgent than ever, Saudi Arabia said as it urged all nations to prioritize efforts to strengthen cybersecurity.

Abdulaziz Al-Wasel, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to the UN, said it was time for the international community to adopt a serious and practical approach, in collaboration with the UN, to unifying international efforts to combat threats. This is particularly important given the role cybersecurity plays in protecting the vital interests of countries and national security, he explained.

His comments came on Thursday during a UN Security Council debate about evolving cyberspace threats under the heading “maintenance of international peace and security,” the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.

Al-Wasel highlighted the work and rapid progress of the Kingdom’s cybersecurity sector, which he said was established as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 plan for national development and diversification. The sector has developed rapidly and dynamically, he added, helping to advance the field domestically, regionally and globally.

The Kingdom began its transformative journey by developing a model for cybersecurity that is based on centralized governance and decentralized operability, he said, and falls under the responsibility of national authorities. The model is distinguished by its comprehensive framework for dealing with all aspects related to cybersecurity, whether legislative, security-focused, economic or developmental.

In 2017, Saudi authorities established the National Institute for Cybersecurity, and the Kingdom’s efforts in the field have resulted in several international achievements, one of the most most notable of which was earning second place globally, and first in the Arab world, the Middle East and Asia, in the International Telecommunication Union’s 2020 Global Cybersecurity Index.

And this week Saudi Arabia topped the global cybersecurity rankings in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2024, which is compiled by the World Competitiveness Center of the International Institute for Management Development in Switzerland. In the overall World Competitiveness Index for 2024, the country climbed to 16th place, having ranked 24th in 2022 and 17th last year.

Al-Wasel also noted the launch in 2020 of the Global Cybersecurity Forum in the Kingdom, an international platform that brings together decision-makers from around the world to discuss strategic issues related to cybersecurity. More than 120 countries attended the forum last year, during which the International Cybersecurity Forum Foundation was established, with its headquarters in Riyadh, to aid the enhancement of cybersecurity at an international level.

“The Kingdom is keen to unify regional efforts to cooperate in enhancing regional cybersecurity, which resulted in the establishment of a specialized ministerial committee for cybersecurity under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council, based on a proposal from the Kingdom,” Al-Wasel said.

Another proposal by the Kingdom led to the establishment in September last year of the Council of Arab Cybersecurity Ministers, under the aegis of the Arab League, with its general secretariat and executive offices in Riyadh.

The UN welcomed the work of the Kingdom in the sector and said: “Saudi Arabia also provides capacity-building exercises worldwide, with over 40 states and organizations participating in such training.”


Red Cross says 22 killed in shelling near Gaza office

Red Cross says 22 killed in shelling near Gaza office
Updated 59 min 36 sec ago
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Red Cross says 22 killed in shelling near Gaza office

Red Cross says 22 killed in shelling near Gaza office
  • It said 22 bodies and 45 wounded had been taken to a nearby Red Cross field hospital after the shelling, and there were “reports of additional casualties”

GENEVA: The International Committee of the Red Cross said its Gaza office was ‘damaged’ by in a shell attack Friday that killed at least 22 people who had taken shelter around the compound.
The ICRC did not say who fired the “heavy calibre projectiles” but in a statement on the X platform said they “damaged the structure of the ICRC office,” which is surrounded by hundreds of displaced persons living in tents.
It said 22 bodies and 45 wounded had been taken to a nearby Red Cross field hospital after the shelling, and there were “reports of additional casualties.”
“Heavy-calibre projectiles landed within meters of the office and residences of the International Committee of the Red Cross on Friday afternoon,” the statement said.
“Firing so dangerously close to humanitarian structures, of whose locations the parties to the conflict are aware and which are clearly marked with the Red Cross emblem, puts the lives of civilians and Red Cross staff at risk,” said the body.
“This grave security incident is one of several in recent days,” it added.
“Previously stray bullets have reached ICRC structures. We decry these incidents that put the lives of humanitarians and civilians at risk.”