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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Qatar wealth fund expands Asia investments with new Singapore hub


Qatar expends its investments to Asia as part of efforts to diversify a portfolio that currently depends on the European and US markets.

Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), the country’s $300 billion sovereign wealth fund, has established an advisory subsidiary in Singapore in an effort to diversify investments and create opportunities in Asia, a QIA representative said on Wednesday.

In May, Abdulla al-Kuwari, senior QIA executive, became the head of the Singapore advisory, his LinkedIn profile showed.

Chairman Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Bloomberg recently that Asia “has been very much on our radar screen,” however, he noted that North American deals remain a priority. 

The launch comes as part of efforts to grow and diversify investments after years of mainly focusing on the European and American markets. 

QIA has been ranked as the world’s 11th-largest wealth fund, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. The $300 billion Qatari wealth fund holds stakes in some of the world’s top firms including London Stock Exchange (LSEG.L) and Iberdrola SA (IBE.MC).

Read also: Qatar wealth fund raises Credit Suisse stakes in convertible bond subscription

Recently, the Qatari wealth fund invested $3.6 billion in Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart’s along with other investors.

QIA spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday that the Singapore advisory subsidiary is wholly-owned by the Qatari fund after Qatar Investment Authority Advisory (Singapore) Pte. asked the Asian country’s corporate regulator last June to change its name in recognition of this fact.

“To better reflect our scope of business which covers the Asia Pacific Region, and not Singapore, we propose to change our company name,” the letter to Singapore’s corporate regulator read, choosing “Qatar Investment Authority Advisory (Asia Pacific) Pte.” as its title.

The latest expansion is expected to reinforce a presence in the Southeast Asian nation and beyond, with efforts still in place in the US market. 

Earlier this month, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund subscribed to two convertible bonds of Credit Suisse, raising its stake in the bank to 6%.

The bonds will be converted into shares later this year, according to a regulatory filing.

The filing also revealed that QIA was among investors who subscribed to Credit Suisse’s capital raising in April when it issued mandatory convertible notes.

Stock exchange data still displayed QIA’s stake as 4.84% following a move by the investment fund to trim its stake in the in Swiss global investment bank and financial services firm. This was QIA’s first reduction since 2010, according to Bloomberg data.

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