Saudi Fund hires top talent but can’t keep it

Published:  2 Jan at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
The Saudi Arabian Crown Prince is being blamed for the departure of expat experts involved in the Saudi Fund.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is relying on the kingdom’s sovereign investment fund to drive diversification of the economy as part of a wider strategy to reduce dependence on oil revenues. However, the flagship investment scheme has suffered recent setbacks due to the departure of Western expatriate executives. The British head of legalities for the fund, its Spanish private executive associate and its Swiss head of public investments have all resigned after just 18 months in their jobs.

One former head of strategy recently poached from Dutch banking group ABM Amro’s investment arm was formally shown around his office and introduced to his staff. Just weeks later, he packed his Gucci bags and left, saying he’d have little or no say in the fund’s strategy as it was dominated by MBS, It wasn’t, he was heard to say, anything like investment banking should be. Senior staffers are also known to have jumped ship due to the prince’s micromanagement in an erratic environment working against common bank and investment house cultures in New York and London.

A number of top executives have abandoned million-dollar salaries with guaranteed bonuses, and the international rage at the murder of Jamal Khashoggi is now proving a barrier to finding top-talent replacements. In addition, understaffing is the norm, and those familiar with the way the fund works say major deals are failing due to a lack of intellectual capability on the part of those still working with the fund.

Originally intended to diversify Saudi’s economy as part of a massive reform programme initiated by MBS, staff nowadays are mostly Saudi citizens drawn from the top layer of the kingdom’s tribal families. It would seem Western financial whiz-kids and bankers simply don’t want to spend time in a country with a restrictive culture and a tricky work environment.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive