Saudi Sovereign Fund Said to Hire Ex-Morgan Stanley Risk Officer

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund hired a former chief risk officer at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Feta Zabeli, as it expands its international portfolio, according to people familiar with the matter.

Zabeli, previously based in New York, joined the Public Investment Fund in June, the people said. In July the PIF also hired Maziar Alamouti, an ex-head of trading for U.K. wealth manager Quilter Investors, to bolster its international trading capabilities, they said. A spokesman said the PIF employed over 900 people and aims to reach 1,000 by year end, without commenting on the new hires.

The PIF received an injection of $40 billion from the kingdom’s reserves in March and April as it sought investment opportunities amid the economic wreckage of the coronavirus crisis. The money was meant to accelerate the fund’s transformation from a domestically focused holding company into a global investor.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the country’s de facto ruler, wants to wean the economy off oil and sees the PIF’s rise as key to that plan. Under the leadership of Yasir Al-Rumayyan, a close adviser to the crown prince, the PIF has built up stakes in Uber Technologies Inc. and Jio Platforms Ltd., the digital services business controlled by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.

The fund spent billions of dollars buying stakes in companies including Facebook Inc., Citigroup Inc., and Walt Disney Co. in March at the height of the pandemic-driven sell-off. As markets rebounded in the second quarter, it largely exited those positions and bought into exchange-traded funds focused on utilities and materials sectors.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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