History of the KIO
KIO owes its existence to Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, the ruler
of Kuwait from 1950-1965, who decided that the oil revenue would be used
for the people of Kuwait.
The Kuwait Investment Board was established in 1953 with the aim of
investing the surplus oil revenue in order to provide a fund for the
future and reduce Kuwait's reliance on its single finite resource.
1961 Sheikh Abdullah steered his country through independence on 19th
June 1961 and the funds built up enabled the creation of the welfare
state from the oil revenues and the set up of new industries in Kuwait
to develop the narrow economic base of Kuwait. The former Amir, Sheikh
Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, as the Minister of Finance,
established the basic investment principles for the fund, many of which
are still in place.
In 1965, the KIO replaced the Kuwait Investment Board with a total of
11 staff. In response to the upheavals in the world markets in the early
1970s, the KIO started to diversify its assets, and major portfolios
were set up and substantial investments made.
In 1974, it was decided that the KIO should adopt a long term view. In
the same year, the KIO acquired St Martins Property Corporation and
attracted publicity for the first time. The KIO, with its staff of
24 moved into its current location in 1975 – St Vedast House.
In 1976, the Amir created the Reserve Fund for Future Generations,
which was allocated 10% of State revenues annually. The KIO continued to
manage its growing investments through the late 1970’s and early 1980’s
and was often the subject of press speculation on the extent of funds
The KIO acquired Autobar in 1983, one of the largest hot and cold
beverage and food vending enterprises in Europe that operates in the pan
European market in vending and food services, distribution services and
In 1984 the responsibility for the Reserve Funds was transferred to
KIO. Its purpose is to oversee the investment and management of the GRF,
the FGF and any other funds entrusted to it by the Minister of Finance.
1986 In 1986 statistics indicated that government revenue from investments exceeded revenue from oil.
August 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait and the assets of Kuwait were frozen
to protect it. During this time, KIO acted as a focus and a central bank
for Kuwait during the occupation, and organized the transfer of funds
throughout the world, and to the exiled Kuwaiti government in Saudi
Arabia. Kuwait City was liberated on 26th February 1991. The KIO played a significant role in releasing funds for reconstruction.
1992 A new management structure for the office was adopted in 1992.
2003 2003 marked the 50th Anniversary of the KIO investing on behalf of the State of Kuwait.
2004 The KIO sold Autobar, one of its wholly owned companies, and its holdings in Guoco, in 2004.