Bloomberg Billionaire Index named the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Al Saud family as the world’s fourth richest with a total worth at more than $100 billion. The Waltons who own the US-based Walmarts ranked first on the index.
Al Saud’s collective fortune is based on the total payouts the royal family members have obtained over the years from the Royal Diwan.
The Royal Diwan is the executive office of the King. The Al Saud family also own oil giant Saudi Aramco which is recognised as the world’s most profitable company. The kingdom is planning to take Saudi Aramco public with a valuation of $2 trillion.
Media reports have said that it is a conservative assessment largely based on the most traceable source of income generated to the House of Saud members for over several years. For example, royal stipends provided by the king’s private office.
According to a 1996 US Embassy cable published by Wikileaks, the monthly stipends stood between $800 to $270,000. The estimated figure totalled to $2 billion annually. However, it is unknown to what extent the stipends have changed today.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion. “As far as my private expenses, I’m a rich person and not a poor person,” he said. “I’m a member of the ruling family that existed for hundreds of years before the founding of Saudi Arabia.”
The kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan aims to diversify the economy, reduce unemployment and slash heavy reliance on oil. In fact, the new rules have given women in the kingdom the right to drive.