Connect with us

Business

Saudi wealth fund PIF plans to buy $10 billion in stocks in 2022

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is planning to plow deeper into public markets this year by investing about $10 billion more into listed stocks, according to people familiar with the matter, as it pursues the goal of more than doubling its assets by 2025.

Chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Public Investment Fund is looking to buy global stocks based on a thematic strategy that focuses on areas including e-commerce and renewables, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

The spending on global stocks is in addition to the fund’s direct investments in international firms and its local deals, the people said. A spokesman for the PIF, as the fund is known, declined to comment.

The Saudi wealth fund has amassed around $500 billion in assets, taking an increasingly prominent role in global markets since receiving a $40 billion transfer from the kingdom’s reserves in early 2020 when the pandemic sent equities into a tailspin.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

It used the money to buy stakes in companies including Citigroup Inc., Facebook Inc. and cruise-ship operator Carnival Corp., which it sold just months later.

Most of what’s known about the PIF’s holdings comes from regulatory filings. The fund itself discloses limited information publicly about its allocations to different geographies or asset classes. Governor Yasir Al Rumayyan said over a year ago that it’s aiming for about 80 percent of its investments to be made in the Saudi economy, with the remainder spent internationally.

A document that outlined the fund’s strategy for 2021-2025 said it aims to “grow and diversify PIF’s international portfolio investments broadly, across geographies, asset classes and sectors, and away from the domestic economy and oil and gas industries.

The value of the PIF’s public holdings, including its shares in domestic companies, has reached nearly $200 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, dominated by its stakes in Lucid Group Inc. and Saudi Telecom Co. The fund has set out a plan to grow its assets to over 4 trillion riyals ($1.1 trillion) by 2025.

The fund more than tripled its holdings in US-traded companies from the end of 2020 to $43.4 billion during the third quarter last year. It started to invest in video-game makers in 2021 and more recently added stakes in e-commerce, Chinese, and clean energy companies, from PayPal Holdings Inc. and Plug Power Inc. to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Stock buying

With sovereign investors worldwide adding to their exposure to equities, the rally in global stocks and higher oil prices helped the wealth fund industry exceed $10 trillion in assets last year for the first time.

The focus for some is increasingly drifting away from the US and toward Asia, according to data provider Global SWF, with the PIF applying for a Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor license in China late last year.

A more pronounced tilt toward stocks highlights the shift in how the kingdom invests its wealth.

In the past, excess oil revenue was mostly channelled by the Saudi central bank into stable liquid assets like US Treasuries.

Al Rumayyan has said the kingdom missed an opportunity to buy cheap stocks during the 2008 global financial crisis, and the PIF used the transfer from the country’s reserves to take advantage of a slump in markets during the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund invested only about half of the $40 billion it planned to plow into the domestic economy last year, underscoring the difficulty for the Saudi economy to digest such vast sums. Still, the crown prince has reiterated the fund’s aim to hit the domestic investment target of $40 billion in 2022.

The PIF is funded through a mixture of borrowing, cash and asset transfers from the government, and retained earnings from its investments. While it’s been boosting its exposure to American equities, the central bank’s holdings of US Treasures — which are distinct from the wealth fund — have fallen to the lowest level in about four years.

Read more:

PIF to invest up to 1 trillion riyals in Saudi Arabia by 2025

Saudi PIF to secure credit ratings, aims to have full green yield curve: Executive

‘THE RIG.’: Saudi PIF announces tourism project inspired by offshore oil platforms

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Business

Microsoft threatens data restriction to rival search engines as AI products grow


Microsoft Corp. has threatened to cut off access to its internet-search data, which it licenses to rival search engines, if they don’t stop using it as the basis for their own artificial intelligence chat products, according to people familiar with the dispute.

The software maker licenses the data in its Bing search index — a map of the internet that can be quickly scanned in real time — to other companies that offer web search, such as Apollo Global Management Inc.’s Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. In February, Microsoft integrated a cousin of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s AI-powered chat technology, into Bing.

For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app

Rivals quickly moved to roll out their own AI chatbots as hype built around the buzzy technology. This week, Alphabet Inc.’s Google publicly released Bard, its conversational AI product.

DuckDuckGo, a search engine that emphasizes privacy, introduced DuckAssist, a feature that uses artificial intelligence to summarize answers to search queries.

You.com and Neeva Inc. — two newer search engines that debuted in 2021 — have also debuted AI-fueled search services, YouChat and NeevaAI.

These search chatbots aim to combine the conversational skills of ChatGPT with the information provided by a conventional search engine. DuckDuckGo, You.com and Neeva’s regular search engines all use Bing to provide some of their information, because indexing the entire web is costly — it requires servers to store data and a constant crawl of the internet to incorporate updates. It would be similarly complex and pricey to get together that data for a search chatbot.

Microsoft has told at least two customers that using its Bing search index to feed their AI chat tools violates the terms of their contract, according to the people, who spoke anonymously because they were discussing a confidential dispute.

The Redmond, Washington-based technology company said it may terminate the licenses providing access to its search index, the people said.

“We’ve been in touch with partners who are out of compliance as we continue to consistently enforce our terms across the board,” Microsoft said in a statement. “We’ll continue to work with them directly and provide any information needed to find a path forward.”

If they were cut off from Microsoft’s index, smaller search engines would have a hard time finding an alternative. Microsoft and Google are the only two companies that index the entire web, and Google’s limitations on the use of its index have led nearly all other search engines to use Bing.

Read more:

Saudi Aramco signs MoU with Samsung on localizing 5G tech

As AI booms, EU lawmakers wrangle over new rules to protect citizens

Microsoft applies AI powers behind ChatGPT to Outlook, Excel

Continue Reading

Business

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel and titan of silicon valley, dies at 94 


Gordon Moore, a pioneer in the microprocessor industry and a cofounder of Intel, which at one time was the world’s largest semiconductor maker, died on Friday at the age of 94, Intel said.

Moore was a giant in the technological transformation of the modern age, helping companies bring evermore powerful chips to smaller and smaller computers.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

An engineer by training, he cofounded Intel in July 1968, eventually serving as president, chief executive and chairman of the board.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, said Moore died “surrounded by family at his home in Hawaii.”

In its early days, Intel was known for continuous innovation, growing to become one of the biggest, most important companies in technology.

In an article in 1965, Moore first coined a theory that later became known as “Moore’s Law.” It stated that integrated circuits would essentially double in power every year. He later revised the law to say the doubling would occur every two years.

The axiom held true for decades and became synonymous with the rapid rate of technological change in the modern world.

“All I was trying to do was get that message across, that by putting more and more stuff on a chip we were going to make all electronics cheaper,” Moore said in a 2008 interview.

After earning his PhD from CalTech, Moore and a colleague in 1957 joined Fairchild Semiconductor Laboratory, one of the earliest firms to manufacture commercially viable transistors and integrated circuits.

As the company grew, the seeds were planted for the transformation of the peninsula of land south of San Francisco into what became known as Silicon Valley.

Moore and longtime colleague Robert Noyce struck out on their own in 1968, bringing along a third, Andy Grove, who would become a future Intel CEO.

Moore retired from Intel in 2006.

Over his lifetime, he donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes through the foundation he set up with his wife of 72 years, Betty.

“Though he never aspired to be a household name, Gordon’s vision and his life’s work enabled the phenomenal innovation and technological developments that shape our everyday lives,” said Harvey Fineberg, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Leaders of Intel heaped tribute on Moore.

“He was instrumental in revealing the power of transistors, and inspired technologists and entrepreneurs across the decades,” said Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger.

“He leaves behind a legacy that changed the lives of every person on the planet. His memory will live on,” Gelsinger added on Twitter.

Read more:

Toshiba accepts $15 bln buyout offer from JIP equity firm: Nikkei

Apple supplier Foxlink unlikely to resume full India operations for 2 months: Source

US, three Asian partners discussed chip supply chain: Reports

Continue Reading

Business

Credit Suisse, UBS among banks in DOJ Russia-sanctions probe


Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS Group AG are among banks under scrutiny in a US Justice Department probe into whether financial professionals helped Russian oligarchs evade sanctions, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Swiss banks were included in a recent wave of subpoenas sent out by the US government, the people said. The information requests were sent before the crisis that engulfed Credit Suisse and resulted in UBS’s proposed takeover of its rival.

For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Subpoenas also went to employees of some major US banks, two people with knowledge of the inquiries, said.

The Justice Department inquiries are focused on identifying which bank employees dealt with sanctioned clients and how those clients were vetted over the past several years, according to one of the people. Those bankers and advisers may then be subject to further investigation to determine if they broke any laws.

Credit Suisse and UBS both declined to comment. UBS fell as much as 7.2 percent and was 5.5 percent lower as of 10:14 a.m. in Zurich on Friday.

Before the Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted in expanded sanctions, Credit Suisse was well-known for catering to wealthy Russians. At its peak, the bank managed more than $60 billion for Russian clients, who generated between $500 million and $600 million a year in revenue.

At the time it discontinued its business with individual Russian clients last May, Credit Suisse held about $33 billion for them, 50 percent more than UBS, despite the latter’s larger wealth management business.

The probe by US regulators may prompt UBS to further scrutinize its smaller rival’s client list after the emergency takeover. Credit Suisse has seen a number of relationships blow up in recent years, from Bill Hwang at Archegos Capital Management to Lex Greensill at his eponymous finance company and Luckin Coffee founder Lu Zhengyao.

The Justice Department last year launched its KleptoCapture task force to enforce sanctions on wealthy Russians who are political allies of President Vladimir Putin. The US government has since seized a number of yachts, private planes and luxury properties.

Last month, the US moved to seize homes in New York, Florida and the Hamptons owned by sanctioned oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.

A number of individuals have also been charged with helping oligarchs hide assets — British businessman Graham Bonham-Carter was arrested in October on charges that he illegally transferred $1 million to maintain US properties for sanctioned billionaire Oleg Deripaska. A former senior Federal Bureau of Investigation agent was also charged with helping Deripaska violate sanctions in January.

Banks can face serious penalties for violating US sanctions. BNP Paribas in 2014 agreed to pay nearly $9 billion after pleading guilty to US charges for processing transactions for sanctioned Sudanese, Iranian and Cuban entities. In 2019, Standard Chartered Bank agreed to pay more than $1 billion to settle a Justice Department probe, in which a former bank employee pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran.

As the Credit Suisse rescue plan emerged over the weekend, UBS expressed general concern about taking on its rival’s potential legal liabilities. While the Swiss government has said it will guarantee up to 9 billion francs ($9.8 billion) in losses UBS might incur from the deal, it indicated that funding is earmarked for the wind down of “difficult-to-assess assets.”

US Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco in early March said the Justice Department was responding to the “uncertain geopolitical environment by beefing up its national security division, which enforces sanctions violations.

“Corporate crime and national security are overlapping to a degree never seen before, and the department is retooling to meet that challenge,” Monaco said.

Read more:

UBS seeks dealmaking revival in Middle East with Credit Suisse takeover

Credit Suisse buyout was for financial stability: Bank chief

Swiss government suspends forms of variable remuneration at Credit Suisse

Continue Reading

Trending