Saudi FinMin Says No Need for Sovereign Wealth Fund
Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf said there was no need for the country to create an official sovereign wealth fund to manage its oil reserves. The vast pool of petrodollars are managed by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), the Kingdom’s central bank. The majority of those assets are in liquid securities. The Shura Council, Saudi Arabia’s advisory body, had discussions of creating an official sovereign wealth fund to manage oil reserves, but made no concrete decisions.
Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf served as vice governor of SAMA and has been a board member of Saudi Aramco since 1996.
The Saudi Finance Minister spoke on Saudi television on Christmas, saying the reserves are professionally managed by Saudis as well as external fund managers. He also said the investment returns were similar, or at some years higher, compared to Norway’s sovereign wealth fund. Saudi Arabia also has the Public Investment Fund (PIF), which focuses more on domestic investments. The Cabinet of Saudi Arabia on December 25, validated a 2015 fiscal budget, showing a US$ 39 billion deficit.
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