Qatar Investment Authority CEO Faisal Al-Hamadi: Portrait by Chris Buzelli
(September 3, 2013) -- The Qatari sovereign wealth fund has
reportedly gone on a hiring spree as part of an effort to become one of the
market’s bigger players.
The fund, which has more than $100 billion under management,
has hired bankers and other financial industry executives in the past two
months to diversify its investment portfolio and move assets out of their
current European exposure.
A report on Reuters
declared the sovereign wealth fund to have hired Ugo Arzani, most recently a
managing director at Bank of America Merrill Lynch in London, as its new head
of consumer and retail investments.
Jason Chew, previously the head of Greater China operations
at Pramerica Real Estate Investors, is also believed to have joined as the head
of Asia real estate.
The two new signings follow
that of Hong Kong-based banker Michael Cho, who joined as the head of
mergers and acquisitions in August, and Deutsche Bank’s Stefan Frank as its
head of strategy in July.
Hiring internal staff is all the rage with sovereign wealth
funds today: the Abu
Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) appointed the former head of Asia Pacific
equities at Legal & General Investment Management to run an internal team
last week, alongside Suresh Sadasivan, who was brought on board as head of
Asia, ex Japan.
The Qatari recruitment drive has been pushed through by the
recently appointed Chief Executive Ahmed Al-Sayed.
"Ahmed is extremely ambitious and knows very well that
to create a global wealth fund you need people with experience in Asia and the
U.S. The current team is very smart but their expertise is mostly in
Europe," a source told Reuters.
"Knowing him, he must be thinking about taking to the
fund to the next level, to the likes of Abu Dhabi's ADIA or Singapore's Government
Investment Corporation of Singapore. Nothing less will do for him."
A greater in-house presence could also lead to a bigger
level of direct investments. A report from the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute
in August found the trend of bringing
investment decisions in-house directly correlated with the number of direct
investments being completed.
One area where the Qatari sovereign wealth fund will have to
do considerably more to catch up with its Gulf peers is in the area of
transparency: it ranked in the bottom five of the industry’s International
Forum of Sovereign Wealth Funds’ transparency rankings.
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