Saudi Arabia Sets Up New Sovereign Wealth Fund to Invest In Foreign Stocks
Zawya states, “Saudi Arabia’s ruler, King Abdullah, Monday approved the creation of a new sovereign wealth fund that will oversee the assets of the oil-rich kingdom’s largest pension fund, according to a statement.
The new fund, to be called the Hassana Investment Co. Hassana Investment Co. will invest in real estate and commercial projects, and stock markets in the Middle East and overseas, according to the statement on the official Saudi Press Agency Web site. Its mandate will be to manage the assets of the General Organization for Social Insurance, or GOSI, the agency said. The creation of the new fund is a departure in strategy by Saudi Arabia, which has previously channeled most of its overseas assets through its central bank the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, or SAMA. The authority is thought to control assets worth around $500 billion mostly in treasuries.
Saudi’s pension fund holds sizable positions in dozens of locally listed companies. Among these investments are a 9.9% stake worth 7.5 billion Saudi riyals ($2 billion) in Al Rajhi Bank and 11.2% of Etihad Etisalat Co., a mobile telecom operator, which is worth about SAR2.5 billion, according to Monday’s closing prices. The fund also owns a number of real estate projects around the kingdom. Analysts estimate that GOSI has around $400 billion in total assets, mostly in the kingdom. Hassana which roughly translates to “protector,” is fully owned by GOSI. The government didn’t disclose the amount of assets the new company will manage.”
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