By 1953, as petroleum became an increasingly important source of revenue for Kuwait, the Amir of the nation, the late Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah (1950-1965) realized that this resource could be used to promote the sustainable development and welfare of the Kuwaiti people.

In February 1953, he established the Kuwait Investment Board (KIB). The purpose of KIB was to substitute oil, a depleting asset, for financial investments in order to diversify the economy by reducing the reliance of Kuwait's economy on oil revenue. In 1961 Kuwait became an independent nation and the scope of KIB's managed investments started to expand to include the United States, Asia and some emerging markets.

In 1965, KIB was rebranded as Kuwait Investment Office, the KIO. Over time the KIO has become one of the major active discretionary investors in London and established a reputation as a prudent and professional long term investor in global markets​