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Saudi Wealth Fund PIF Taps Wall Street Talent For US Investments


Saudi Wealth Fund PIF Taps Wall Street Talent For US Investments


The US subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the kingdom’s $730 billion sovereign wealth fund, is hiring staff from Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms to manage its growing portfolio of US investments, according to media reports.


The PIF, which is chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and aims to diversify the Saudi economy away from oil, has been expanding its presence in the US market, investing in sectors such as technology, entertainment, and healthcare.


The fund’s US arm, USSA International, has hired Jason Chung as its head of the New York office in January after he spent almost 13 years at billionaire Steve Cohen’s hedge fund Point 72 Asset Management, according to his LinkedIn profile.


It also hired Meredith Wood Doherty as its head of compliance and governance from investment firm Baillie Gifford, and former Goldman Sachs employees Mark Cranley and Vesa Helin as a senior economist and head of risk, respectively.


The PIF declined to comment on the hires, but Bloomberg reported last years that the fund planned to hire about 50 employees for its New York unit, including roles in investment research, legal and compliance, and a chief of staff.


The fund also intended to build a team for equity trading, but it is not planning to apply for a license to trade US stocks directly or through the New York unit, and will continue to use intermediaries to execute trades, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.


The PIF manages a roughly $35 billion portfolio of US equities, including stakes in BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, Uber, and Airbnb, according to a recent filing.


In 2022, the fund invested about $10.8 billion in the Americas, more than half of its total deals for the year and up from just $700 million a year earlier, according to data provider Global SWF.


The fund has deployed about $3.9 billion in the US this year, more than in any other region in the world, the data show.


The fund’s US buying spree reflects its strategy of taking advantage of market opportunities created by the coronavirus pandemic. The fund’s governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan has said that Saudi Arabia missed an opportunity to buy cheap stocks during the 2008 global financial crisis.


The PIF is one of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world and has ambitious plans to increase its assets under management to $1.07 trillion by 2025. It is also the main backer of several mega-projects in Saudi Arabia, such as NEOM, a futuristic city on the Red Sea coast.

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