Saudi Central Bank
البنك المركزي السعودي
HeadquartersRiyadh, Saudi Arabia
Established4 October 1952; 71 years ago (1952-10-04)
Ownership100% state ownership[1]
GovernorAyman AlSayari
Central bank ofSaudi Arabia
CurrencySaudi riyal
SAR (ISO 4217)
Reserves$603.9 billion[1]
Preceded bySaudi Arabian Monetary Authority

The Saudi Central Bank (Arabic: البنك المركزي السعودي), previously known as the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA; Arabic: مؤسسة النقد العربي السعودي),[2] established in 1952, is the central bank of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. After the name change in 2020, the Saudi Central Bank continued to use the same acronym (SAMA).[3]


Prior to the establishment of the Saudi Central Bank, the Saudi Hollandi Bank, a branch of the Netherlands Trading Society from 1926 acted as a de facto central bank. It kept the Kingdom's gold reserves and received oil revenues on behalf of the Saudi Arabian government.[4] In 1928 it assisted in the establishment of a new Saudi silver coin, commissioned by King Abdulaziz which became the Kingdom's first independent currency. The Saudi Hollandia Bank handed over its responsibilities to the SAMA when it was established in 1952[5] and became a model for other foreign banks in the kingdom.[6] The building's current headquarters, which was built in 1985 was designed by American architect Minoru Yamasaki.[7][8]

The modern central bank operates through regulatory infrastructure developed by Irish firm Vizor.[9] In March 2020 and April 2020, the SAMA moved 150 billion Saudi riyals (US$ 40 billion) to the Public Investment Fund (PIF). US$ 25 billion was transferred in April and US$ 15 billion in May. [10]


SAMA is the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia, the functions of the SAMA include issuing the national currency, the Saudi Riyal, supervising commercial banks, managing foreign exchange reserves, promoting price and exchange rate stability, and ensuring the growth and soundness of the financial system, operating a number of cross-bank electronic financial systems such as MADA (previously SPAN), SARIE, and SADAD.[11]

List of governors

Name[12] Tenure
Ayman Mohammed Alsayari Since 2023
Fahad Almubarak 2021-2023
Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey [ar; fr] 2016-2021
Fahad Almubarak 2011–2016
Muhammad Al Jasser 2009–2011
Hamad Ibn Saud Al Sayari 1983–2009
Abdul Aziz Al Quraishi 1974–1983
Anwar Ali 1958–1974
Ralph Standish 1954–1958
George A. Blowers 1952–1954

Leadership and structure

This section needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (March 2021)

A board of directors oversees the operations of SAMA. This comprises the governor, vice-governor and three other nominated members from the private sector. The terms of appointment are 4 years for the governor and vice-governor, extendable by Royal decree, and 5 years for the other members, also extendable by Royal decree. Members of the board cannot be removed except by Royal decree.

The SAMA senior management comprises the governor, the vice-governor and five deputy governors.[13]

Board of directors

Name Position
Governor, Dr. Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey Chairman
Vice Governor, Abdulaziz Salih Alfuraih Vice Chairman
Hamad S. Al Sayari
Muhammad Obaid bin Sa’eed bin Zagar
Abdulaziz bin Muhammad Al Athel

Senior Management

Organisational structure of SAMA as at May 2013.
Name Position Date of appointment
Ayman Mohammed Alsayari Governor 4 February 2023
Khaled Walid-Dhaher Vice Governor for Supervision & Technology 4 July 2022
Ziad Bander Alyousef Deputy Governor for Development & Technology N/A
Yazeed Ahmed AlSheikh Deputy Governor for Supervision N/A
Dr. Fahad Ibrahim Alshathri Deputy Governor for Research And International Affairs N/A
Talal Fouad Alhumoud Deputy Governor for Investment N/A

Balance sheet

The SAMA balance sheet is denominated in Saudi Riyals, which is pegged at an official rate of 3.75 against the US dollar. All currency notes issued by SAMA are fully backed by equivalent gold deposits.

(Millions of Saudi Riyals)

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012*
Notes Issued
Government Deposits 514,123 933,912 1,008,251 1,203,477 1,299,676
Commercial Banks' Deposits 36,277 44,698 50,715 54,976 63,511 68,011
Foreign entities' Riyal Deposits 14,939 12,488 10,300 10,310 3,774 3,750
Other liabilities 525,424 479,406 452,599 495,823 618,069 617,698
Total 1,196,816 1,709,995 1,570,653 1,705,389 2,057,864 2,154,065
Currency cover (gold) 106,054 121,066 123,127 136,029 169,033 164,930
Cash in vault 23,842 27,053 23,876 25,060 29,187 24,171
Deposits with banks abroad 246,792 379,487 335,673 343,887 414,007 495,246
Investments in foreign securities 790,559 1,154,247 1,071,542 1,181,916 1,427,820 1,446,610
Other assets 29,569 28,142 16,435 18,497 17,817 23,108
Total 1,196,816 1,709,995 1,570,653 1,705,389 2,057,864 2,154,065

2012 figures are at end of 1st quarter.[14]

SAMA Foreign Holdings

In addition to its functions, the Saudi Central Bank controls SAMA Foreign Holdings, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia. The fund is the third largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, with assets of over $700 billion.[15]

In October 2015, Governor Fahad Abdullah Al-Mubarak of the Saudi Central Bank was ranked #2 on the Public Investor 100.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b Weidner, Jan (2017). "The Organisation and Structure of Central Banks" (PDF). Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek.
  2. ^ "Saudi Arabia's SAMA renamed Saudi Central Bank". Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  3. ^ "SAMA renamed to Central Bank of Saudi Arabia, policy remains unchanged says governor". Al Arabiya English. 25 November 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2023.
  4. ^ "Saudi Hollandi Bank History". Saudi Hollandi Bank. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  5. ^ Albert Habib Hourani; Philip Shukry Khoury; Mary Christina Wilson (1993). The Modern Middle East: A Reader. University of California Press. p. 587. ISBN 978-0-520-08241-0.
  6. ^ "SHB Overview". Saudi Hollandia Bank.
  7. ^ Friend, Theodore (2012). Woman, Man, and God in Modern Islam. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8028-6673-8.
  8. ^ Gyure, Dale Allen (28 November 2017). Minoru Yamasaki: Humanist Architecture for a Modernist World. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-22986-8.
  9. ^ "Technology consultant of the year: Vizor Software". 23 January 2018.
  10. ^ "SAMA Had Transferred $40 Billion to PIF, More Firepower for Market Opportunities | SWFI". Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  11. ^ About the SAMA SAMA
  12. ^ "Historical preview".
  13. ^ "SAMA Management". Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  14. ^ Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency 48th Annual Report, p. 36
  15. ^ "SWFI Fund Rankings". Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  16. ^ "Fahad Abdullah Al-Mubarak – Public Investor 100". Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute. Retrieved 25 October 2015.