Top 10 sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East
Some of the fastest growing economies in the world right now are in the Middle East, where oil and gas exports continue to generate huge profits for the region’s gulf countries.
For many of these nations, a large chunk of those windfall profits flow into their enormous sovereign wealth funds.
For those not familiar with a sovereign wealth fund, they are state-owned investment funds (like a supercharged mutual fund) that can invest in all sorts of assets (such as shares, bonds, real estate, infrastructure and precious metals) in order to grow the state’s wealth and generate returns into the future.
Today, the top 10 sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East account for close to a staggering US$4 trillion in assets.
Combined, the Middle East’s sovereign wealth funds have the potential to be a major global economic force.
List of the top 10 sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East
Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) – $709 billion
The ADIA invest on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Government. Abu Dhabi is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and also the capital of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. It’s a city of just 1.5 million, yet the ADIA’s assets sit at US$709 billion as at the start of 2023.
According to the investment authority, it invests globally across more than two dozen asset classes and sub categories. It was established in 1976.
Kuwait Investment Authority – $708 billion
The Kuwait Investment Authority was founded in 1953, making it the oldest sovereign wealth fund in the world. It is also now one of the largest.
The Authority publicly states that its mission is to “achieve a long term investment return on the financial reserves entrusted by the State of Kuwait to the Kuwait Investment Authority, providing an alternative to oil reserves, which would enable Kuwait’s future generations to face the uncertainties ahead with greater confidence.”
Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) – $607 billion
Saudia Arabia is set to become the world’s fastest growing economy in 2023, overtaking India. The PIF is its largest sovereign wealth fund with over US$600 billion under management.
It invests in global stocks, ‘strategic global investments’ which comprises of infrastructure, energy and other real assets in foreign countries, along with Saudi Giga-Projects.
The Saudi Giga-Projects are some of the fund’s most high-profile investments.
SAMA Foreign Holdings – $490 billion
Saudi Arabia’s second-largest sovereign wealth fund is SAMA Foreign Holdings. The investment vehicle is operated by the Saudi Central Bank – also known as SAMA.
SAMA Foreign Holdings has a risk appetite skewed to the lower end – investing in bonds, bank notes and stocks.
Qatar Investment Authority – $461 billion
The Qatar Investment Authority was founded by the state of Qatar in 2005 in order to protect and grow the nations wealth into the future.
It has a diversified investment portfolio, spanning all major global markets, asset classes, and sectors.
In recent years, Qatar has recorded some of the strongest economic growth in the world thanks to the petroleum and gas industries, along with prosperous start-up, business and tourism sectors.
Investment Corporation of Dubai – $299 billion
The Investment Corporation of Dubai is the main investment arm of the Government of Dubai. Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates.
The corporation has a more concentrated portfolio compared to many other sovereign wealth funds. Its portfolio is broken down into 7 segments, including:
- Banking and Finance Services
- Oil and Gas
- Hospitality and Leisure
- Real Estate and Construction
- Retail and Other Holdings
Abu Dhabi Mubadala Investment Company – $284 billion
The Mubadal Investment Company is the second-largest sovereign wealth fund investing on behalf on the Abu Dhabi Government.
Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company – $160 billion
A third Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund also makes the list of top 10 largest sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East.
The Abu Dhabi Developmental Holding Company has assets totalling around $160 billion. Its investments are predominately in major enterprises across Abu Dhabi.
Emirates Investment Authority – $87 billion
The Emirates Investment Authority invests on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
It most notable assets include major equity stakes in Etisalat and Du – telecommunications companies in the Middle East and North Africa region. It has also awarded major investment mandates to asset managers based globally.
Oman Investment Authority – $20 billion
The sovereign wealth fund of Oman – known as the Oman Investment Authority – has around US$20 billion under management, as of January 2023.
The Authority says its investments span 40 countries, across two categories:
1. Public Markets (including global stocks, fixed-income bonds and short-term assets)
2. Private market (including private investments in real estate developments, logistics, service sector, mining, industrial projects, and technology companies)