RIYADH Saudi Arabia is about to approve the launch of its first sovereign wealth fund with initial capital of 20 billion riyals ($5.3 billion), the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.
The fund, which will be set up by the state-controlled Public Investment Fund (PIF), will act as "a portfolio investor focusing on maximizing long-term rates of return", the newspaper said, quoting the PIF's secretary general, Mansour al-Maiman.
Maiman, who said Riyadh is in the final stages of approval, said new fund could raise its capital or increase the size of assets under management as needed.
Maiman could not immediately be reached for comment.
PIF is attached to the finance ministry and invests exclusively in local assets.
Mohammed al-Jasser, vice governor of Saudi Arabia's central bank, told Reuters in January that Saudi Arabia is considering setting up a $6 billion sovereign wealth fund to invest the country's surplus oil wealth, but could "live without it" if debate about suspected abuses by similar foreign investment vehicles continues.
(Writing by Souhail Karam, editing by Mike Peacock)