KIA promotes head of alternatives to top job

Farouk Bastaki will replace current managing director Bader Al Saad in April.

The $592 billion Kuwait Investment Authority has named Farouk Bastaki, executive director of alternative investments, as its new managing director, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported on Monday, PERE's sister publication, Private Equity International, reported.

Bastaki will replace Bader Al Saad who is stepping down from his post after 14 years at KIA.

KIA did not respond to requests for comment on the reasons behind Al Saad’s departure and his likely next move.
It is also unclear who will replace Bastaki as head of alternatives.

Bastaki has been with KIA since 1989 and has been head of alternatives, currently responsible for the fund’s private equity, hedge fund, real estate and infrastructure investments, since 2006. He also serves as a board director at the Gulf Bank of Kuwait and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

He will take up his new post by April as part of a board reshuffle at the KIA, the report said.

KIA is the world’s sixth largest sovereign wealth fund as of June 2016 as ranked by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. Established in 1953, the fund is also the world’s oldest.

KIA invests from its headquarters in Kuwait City, as well as in London and a representative office in Beijing. The sovereign wealth fund invests in real estate funds with a target of at least $1 billion, and invests through joint ventures and other structures in the Americas, Asia, Europe and Australia, according to its website. The fund's most recent real estate deal was the November purchase of Le Meridien Etoile, a Parisian hotel, in a joint venture with Henderson Park and Wafra. The JV purchased the 1,025-unit hotel for $377 million.

KIA plans to manage more of its assets across investment type in-house, from the current 1 percent to 2 percent to as much as 8 percent or over $40 billion, Al Saad said in a Bloomberg interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January. He added that KIA needed to take more risk in order to maintain returns and said the fund would be expanding its portfolio to infrastructure and credit in 2017.

In 2011, the sovereign wealth fund together with a group of investors including Singapore’s GIC Private Limited picked up a 10 percent stake in TPG for about $1 billion. Meanwhile in 2012, KIA teamed up again with GIC and also the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to acquire a 10 percent stake in CVC Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum.