KIA promotes head of alternatives to top job – reports

Farouk Bastaki will replace current managing director Bader Al Saad in April.

The $592 billion Kuwait Investment Authority has named Farouk Bastaki, executive director of alternative investments, as its new managing director, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported on Monday, quoting unnamed sources.

Bastaki will replace Bader Al Saad who is stepping down from his post after 14 years at KIA.

KIA did not respond to requests for comment on the reasons behind Al Saad’s departure and his likely next move.

It is also unclear who will replace Bastaki as head of alternatives.

Bastaki has been with KIA since 1989 and has been head of alternatives, currently responsible for the fund’s private equity, hedge fund, real estate and infrastructure investments, since 2006. He also serves as a board director at the Gulf Bank of Kuwait and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

He will take up his new post by April as part of a board reshuffle at the KIA, the report said.

KIA is the world’s sixth largest sovereign wealth fund as of June 2016 as ranked by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. Established in 1953, the fund is also the world’s oldest.

KIA invests from its headquarters in Kuwait City, as well as in London and a representative office in Beijing. About 10 percent of the fund’s portfolio is allocated to private equity, mainly in buyout, venture capital, secondaries and funds of funds vehicles. KIA has made commitments to funds managed by The Carlyle Group, Hg Capital, The Abraaj Group, and Apollo Global Management, according to PEI data.

KIA also plans to manage more of its assets in-house, from the current 1 percent to 2 percent to as much as 8 percent or over $40 billion, Al Saad said in a Bloomberg interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January. He added that KIA needed to take more risk in order to maintain returns and said the fund would be expanding its portfolio to infrastructure and credit in 2017.

Three years ago, the fund also set up a $2 billion portfolio for venture capital investments globally. It has backed San Francisco-based audio technology Jawbone and Indian research company Advanced Enzymes.

In 2011, the sovereign wealth fund together with a group of investors including Singapore’s GIC Private Limited picked up a 10 percent stake in TPG for about $1 billion. Meanwhile in 2012, KIA teamed up again with GIC and also the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to acquire a 10 percent stake in CVC Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum.