The Qatar Investment Authority has doubled its stake in Swiss bank Credit Suisse, becoming the second biggest shareholder after Gulf neighbors, Saudi National Bank, “underlining the growing importance of Middle Eastern investors” according to the Financial Times.
Credit Suisse’s shares lost 70% of their value over the last two years, possibly prompting US shareholders to divest their stakes in the ailing Swiss bank.
The QIA had already invested in Credit Suisse during the financial crisis, doubling their stake in the group at the end of 2022 when the Swiss had wanted to restructure the group launching a capital raise in October with a target of $4.3bn.
With QIA now owning just under 7%, SNB with 10% and 3% held by the Saudi Olayan family, three Middle Eastern entities now control nearly a quarter of Credit Suisse stock between them.
In an interview with Bloomberg during the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, QIA CEO Mansoor Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud confirmed that financial institutions remained an important pillar in their portfolio, stating “investing in a financial institution will always be a theme for us”.
Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds are increasingly diversifying their portfolios in Western enterprises, from Premier League football clubs to financial institutions, in line with domestic policies aimed at diversifying their economies away from fossil fuels.