Saudi’s Shoura Council approves law granting the PIF greater independence

The PIF aims to become one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds

Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council on Wednesday approved a draft law granting the Public Investment Fund (PIF greater independence.

The council’s assistant speaker Yahya Bin Abdullah Al-Samaan said the law was approved after hearing the opinions of the Shoura committees for energy and economy.

The amended law features 32 articles, up from 10 previously, and would let the sovereign fund enjoy “financial and administrative” independence.

“The Public Investment Fund (PIF) project is in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the aspirations of the Public Investment Fund to become one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds and to enhance the Fund’s role in achieving the objectives of the kingdom’s vision,” according to a statement published by Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sought to drastically increase the assets of the PIF and raise its profile through billions of dollars of investments in the likes of Uber, SoftBank’s Vision Fund and more recently electric car start-up Lucid Motors.

Read: Saudi’s PIF confirms $1bn investment in Tesla rival Lucid

The fund, which is estimated to have assets under management worth $250bn, said last year it aimed to reach $400bn of assets by 2020.

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

Under current plans, it is expected to receive up to $70bn from the proposed sale of its stake in petrochemicals firm SABIC to Saudi Aramco and up to $100bn should a planned 5 per cent listing of Aramco go ahead.

Read: Saudi’s PIF selects Goldman Sachs, BofAML as advisers on SABIC sale

However, allegations that the crown prince was involved in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate on October 2 may have complicated some of the firm’s planned investments going forward.

Western officials and business leaders pulled out of a PIF conference in Riyadh in October over the incident and the crown prince received a frosty reception from some world leaders at the recent G20 Summit in Argentina.

Read: Turkey’s Erdogan says not aiming to harm Saudi royals in Khashoggi affair