Dubai: Saudi Arabia will merge two state-owned pension and unemployment insurance funds into an entity with nearly $ 29 billion in domestic and foreign equities. Cabinet approved the combination of the Public Pension Agency and the General Organization for Social Insurance (also known as GOSI). It will increase investment returns, reduce costs and help diversify them, Finance Minister Mohammed Al Jadaan and GOSI chairman said in a statement. The funds have significant interests in Saudi Arabian companies, including a combined $ 8.5 billion in Saudi National Bank and a $ 4.3 billion stake in Al Rajhi Bank. They also own $ 207 million worth of shares in AstraZeneca and $ 170 million in HSBC Holdings. Their portfolios also contain real estate and bonds.
Saudi Arabia has taken steps to merge and restructure different entities because it wants to increase efficiency as part of a plan to diversify the economy away from oil. The Public Investment Fund, the country’s sovereign wealth fund of $ 430 billion, must invest in new industries in the kingdom, while also buying interests abroad. The kingdom also bought several local funds focused on the sector, including real estate, industry and agriculture, under the National Development Fund to reduce overlap and costs.