The Russian Finance Ministry has proposed diversifying the assets of the National Wealth Fund (NWF), allowing part of them to be kept in precious metals, including gold.

The draft bill, published on the government website on Friday, aims to amend Russia’s budget code to expand the list of financial assets the sovereign wealth fund is allowed to invest in.

According to a note accompanying the proposed legislation, precious metals, gold in particular, have always been considered “protective” assets. The yellow metal accounts for around a quarter of the reserves of the Russian Central Bank, it said, adding that the measure would allow the NWF to diversify its assets, keep them safe and improve profitability.

Last year, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov supported the idea, noting investment in metals is more sustainable in the long-term than financial market assets.

The NWF is a part of Russia’s federal budget assets. It is was created to support the national pension system, and the funds can also be used to cover budget deficits in times of crisis. As of November 1, the assets of the fund amounted to over $167 billion or nearly 12 percent of Russia’s GDP.

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