Kuwait Wealth Fund Head Al Saad Said to Step Down After 14 Years

  • Bastaki to replace Al Saad who held position since 2003
  • New head was executive director for alternative investments

Kuwait Investment Authority is set to name Farouk Bastaki as managing director, replacing Bader Al Saad who ran the world’s fifth-largest sovereign wealth fund for 14 years, a person familiar with the matter said.

The KIA, as the fund is known, is finalizing the appointment, said the person, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported the appointment earlier Monday, saying Al Saad will remain on the KIA’s board.

Bader Al-Saad

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Bastaki was the fund’s executive director for alternative investments after joining in 1989, the newspaper said. In that role, he was responsible for private equity, hedge funds, real estate and the KIA’s representative office in China, according to the fund’s website.

The KIA, which started as a Bank of England account dedicated to receiving oil money in 1953, now has $592 billion of assets, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. Its most high-profile holdings include a 6.8 percent stake in Daimler AG, a 1.7 percent stake in BP Plc and stakes in Vodafone Group Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Domestic Investments

"We are seeing regional wealth funds focusing more on local economies and the KIA is likely to adopt that as it focuses on diversifying its domestic economy," Fabio Scacciavillani, chief economist of the Oman Investment Fund and co-author of a book titled ’The New Economics of Sovereign Wealth Funds’, said by phone Monday.

The fund may pull billions of dollars from external fund managers as it seeks to manage more of its assets and take on more risk to boost returns, Al Saad said in an interview with Bloomberg TV in January. It wants to increase the allocation of funds managed in-house to as much as 8 percent from 1 or 2 percent at present, he said.

Bastaki, who holds an industrial engineering degree from the University of Miami, is also on the board of the Kuwaiti investment firm National Technology Enterprises Co. and has been a board member of the Gulf Bank of Kuwait since 2009, according to the bank’s website.

KIA didn’t immediately respond to Bloomberg questions.

— With assistance by Mohammed Sergie

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