Saudi’s PIF announces plans for second investment conference

The inaugural Future Investment Initiative was followed almost immediately by a major crackdown on corruption



Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has announced plans for a second international investment conference in the kingdom later this year.

The first Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh last October drew headlines thanks to a high profile speaker list and the announcement of $500bn mega city Neom, an urban oasis powered by solar energy and supported by robots.

Read: New Saudi mega city NEOM is Crown Prince’s desert dream

However, there was also controversy in the aftermath when just days later the kingdom began a corruption crackdown that snared hundreds of top businessmen, royals and government officials.

Read: Saudi prince seeks to reassure investors after corruption crackdown

Some Western investors criticised the timing of the crackdown after being drawn in by the potential of a reform vision led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is seeking to reduce the kingdom’s reliance on energy exports through privatisations and the listing of oil giant Aramco.

Read: Saudi privatisation plans target $11bn in non-oil revenues by 2020

In the announcement on Tuesday, the PIF said it would be hosting a second edition of the Future Investment Initiative from October 23-25.

According to the announcement the event will focus on:

  • Investing in Transformation – focusing on how the world’s top investors are creating new cities and transforming economies
  • Technology as Opportunity – considering how technologies are enabling new economic opportunities through personalisation and industrialisation at scale
  • Advancing Human Potential – looking at a world where humans and machines work together to create safer, more productive and happier lives

“The Public Investment Fund is developing into one of the world’s leading and most impactful sovereign wealth funds, and we look forward continuing to build strong strategic partnerships while also showcasing the opportunity for private sector participation as Saudi Arabia’s economy continues to expand and diversify,” said PIF managing director Yasir Al Rumayyan.

At last year’s event, attended by 3,800 people the PIF unveiled a 2018-2020 programme to drive economic diversification and announced billions of dollars of deals with US private equity firm Blackstone, British billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic and Japanese technology group SoftBank.

Read: Saudi’s PIF aims to manage over $400bn in assets by 2020

Read: Saudi’s PIF to invest about $1bn in Virgin’s space companies

The sovereign fund said it would provide updates on the 2018 programme, partners and speakers in the coming months.