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Qatari wealth fund said to create US$100b unit in overhaul

[DUBAI] Qatar's sovereign wealth fund is undergoing its biggest overhaul since 2014, grouping US$100 billion of investments in local companies into a new unit and abandoning the Qatar Holding name synonymous with its highest-profile deals, people with knowledge of the matter said.

About US$100 billion of the Qatar Investment Authority's stakes in companies such as Qatar Airways and Qatar National Bank SAQ will be placed into a new internal division named Qatar Investments, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The fund is seeking to bring greater oversight by having a single person in charge, the people said. Ahmed Al-Rumaihi, a former Qatari diplomat in the US, will head the unit, they said.

The Qatar Holding name, under which the emirate gained an international profile after investing in companies ranging from Glencore Plc to Barclays Plc will now be replaced by the QIA name on international investments, the people said. The country isn't planning to allocate any new money to the QIA this year or withdraw funds and has asked it to rely on asset sales or dividend income for new investments, one of the people said.

The QIA declined to comment, while calls to Mr Al-Rumaihi's cell phone weren't answered.

The changes are among the biggest initiatives undertaken by the fund since royal family member Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud Al Thani was appointed chief executive officer in 2014. Under Sheikh Abdullah, the fund is boosting its focus on Asia and the US as it seeks to diversify the geographic location of its assets.

The fund is also other hiring senior executives amid the changes, according to the people. Phil Dunne, former chief financial officer at Citigroup Alternative Investments, recently joined as CFO, the people said, while Ole Christian Frøseth is the new head of fixed income. The QIA also recruited Darren Winstone from neighboring fund Abu Dhabi Investment Authority as its new of head of passive investments in April, a unit which seeks to invest through external fund managers, they said.

The Qatari fund, the ninth-largest sovereign wealth fund in the world with more than US$250 billion of assets according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, said last year it's planning to invest US$35 billion in the US over the next five years as it opened an office in New York.

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