Saudi Arabia Showcases Prosperity with ‘South Beach Davos’: $10 Trillion Summit of Billionaires and Celebrities

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Enter the world’s most influential gathering you’ve likely never heard of – a 36-hour rendezvous in Miami attracting billionaires, CEOs, and celebrities.

With a mission to “catalyze positive impact,” this event has become a cornerstone for tapping into Saudi Arabia’s immense wealth. Known as the Future Investment Initiative Conference (FII), it serves as the kingdom’s bid for international recognition, challenging the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Originating from Saudi Arabia’s annual “Davos in the Desert” conference in October, this Miami spin-off commands attention on the global stage.

The summit witnessed Wall Street titans, wielding an estimated $10 trillion in assets—nearly double the federal government’s annual spending—mingling with Saudi Arabia’s business elite. Attendees included Steve Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone with $880 billion under management, Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein, and top executives from Goldman Sachs, HSBC, State Street, and Franklin Templeton.

The event took place at The Faena, a luxurious South Beach hotel where room rates average $1,000 per night.

Jared Kushner, former President Trump’s son-in-law, mingled with guests over tea, coffee, and water at the FII, which respects Saudi Arabia’s alcohol ban. Also in attendance was Trump’s former treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin.

The top ten wealthiest speakers at the event collectively held a net worth of $300 billion. The conference underscores Saudi Arabia’s increasing confidence as a global power broker under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s leadership, although he was absent from the event.

This was the event’s second occurrence in the US, with attendees now paying up to $15,000, unlike last year when tickets were free. While it has yet to garner the media attention of Davos or other elite gatherings like the Aspen Ideas Festival or the Allen & Company retreat, it remains a prestige move by the Saudis.

Attendance offers access to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment fund, The Public Investment Fund (PIF), and its vast financial resources.

In the event’s opening moments, Yasir al-Rumayyan, the chair of Saudi Arabia’s publicly traded oil company Aramco, made a staggering announcement. He revealed plans to allocate an extra $70 billion in the US starting in 2025, supplementing the approximately $100 billion already invested since 2017.

Attendees included Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers, Stephen Ross, real estate mogul behind New York’s Hudson Yards, Barry Sternlicht, a hotel tycoon, and Gerry Cardinale, CEO of Redbird Capital Partners, as well as actor Rob Lowe.

After over ten years with lifestyle brand Goop, Paltrow has initiated a venture fund and is expected to seek funding for additional ventures in the near future.

Omitted from the agenda were Israel’s Gaza conflict, Gulf tensions from Houthi attacks off Yemen, and Saudi Arabia’s human rights record. Following the inaugural FII in Riyadh in 2017, bin Salman detained hundreds of rival members of the royal family and wealthy individuals at the same venue, solidifying his power.

The event also overlooked investment banker Michael Klein’s subpoena related to a PGA-LIV merger, risking Saudi criminal charges under Sharia law if he complies with Congress.

Saudi has enlisted Richard Attias, co-founder of the Clinton Global Initiative with Bill and Hillary Clinton, to organize and curate the FII events, ensuring the attendance of influential individuals. Attias expressed that the transformation he has witnessed over the past five years is immense, suggesting that anything is achievable.

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