World’s oldest sovereign wealth fund makes London hiring push
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World’s oldest sovereign wealth fund makes London hiring push

World’s oldest sovereign wealth fund makes London hiring push

The Kuwait Investment Office recruited Arne Hassel as chief investment officer in November

The London arm of the Kuwait Investment Authority has hired executives from Barclays and the Carlyle Group in recent months as the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund looks to step up its capital markets investments.

The Kuwait Investment Office recruited Arne Hassel as chief investment officer in November, people familiar with the matter said.

Hassel previously worked as CIO at Barclays and head of hedge fund strategies for Europe and Asia at Goldman Sachs Group, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Braam Verster, a former director at Carlyle, has been hired as head of strategy and Iain Edwards joined from Jupiter Asset Management Limited as new chief technology officer, the people said, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.

KIA officials couldn’t be reached for comment.

The KIO, as the London branch is known, in recent years has been increasingly active in capital markets with a focus on IPOs and pre-IPO opportunities, the people said. The fund is also increasingly active in real estate, backing a major project in Boston. It employs around 100 people and is looking to expand further, the people said.

The KIO has been a prolific investor in the past year, participating in the US listing of private equity TPG, according to the people. In 2020, it also bought an additional stake in Blackrock from PNC Financial Services Group, Bloomberg reported. Kuwait’s sovereign fund owned 5.2 per cent of Blackrock at the end of March 2021, according to BlackRock’s latest proxy filing.

World’s first

The fund – then the Kuwait Investment Board – was established in London in 1953, eight years before Kuwait gained its independence, making it the world’s first sovereign wealth fund. It was later placed under the aegis of the Kuwait Investment Authority which today manages an estimated more than $700bn, Bloomberg News has previously reported. The KIO manages more than a third of those assets, the people said.

Unlike parent KIA, the KIO mainly invests directly, predominantly in public equities and fixed income but also in alternatives like real estate and private equity. The London branch is headed by Saleh Al-Ateeqi who joined from McKinsey & Co. in 2018.

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