Positive response from major foreign investors for Saudi market reforms
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is “ahead of the curve” in the region in attracting foreign investments to the local stock market, said Capital Market Authority (CMA) Vice-Chairman Mohammed Abdullah Elkuwaiz.
“The Saudi market is very liquid and diverse, and it is sustainable,” he added.
He was speaking at the IFN Saudi Arabia Forum, which discussed the developing trends and opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s Islamic finance landscape.
The response has been very positive from Qualified Foreign Financial Institutions to CMA’s regulatory and infrastructure changes carried out after public consultations.
Saudi Arabia continues to be one of the most active and influential markets in Islamic finance today and certainly the biggest in the Gulf, organizers said.
Redmoney Managing Director Andrew Tebbutt said the objective of the international media company based in Malaysia and the UAE is to bring industry leaders, regulators, intermediaries and asset managers under one roof.
“The Saudi market is liberalizing faster than ever,” said Tebbutt.
He said that investors are becoming more confident to invest across the Kingdom, thanks to the strong regulatory framework environment provided by Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) and the Capital Market Authority (CMA).
Highlighting the significance of the gathering, Mahmoud E. Abdel-Baky, counsel at the Law Firm of Wael A. Alissa, told Arab News that Saudi Vision 2030 has opened up new opportunities for the business sector these days and banks have been stepping up their efforts to provide financing to major private sector projects.
Raafat O. Wakid, portfolio manager at Safa Investment Services SA, who is attending the forum for the second time, commented that local, global Islamic finance fund managers and legal people could help explore Islamic finance potential.
“We are working only on Islamic products and Shariah-compliant investment. We are here to follow up with our clients. Most of our clients are Saudi nationals,” he added.
Naim Azad Din, deputy CEO and head of asset management division, at Sidra Capital, said real estate investment is getting better and concerned people are becoming more comfortable.
There is a huge interest in new products from investors, he said, adding that Saudi Arabia was experiencing natural progression of capital market growth.
Arif Rahim, vice president-head of investment strategy at asset management division, at Sidra Capital, said: “We are getting a good overview from different stakeholders. Change is quite fundamental in terms of investment in Saudi Arabia. The CMA is doing a great job in streamlining regulations.”
He said that investors have become cautious and demand more in terms of transparency. Saudi Arabia is a very diverse market with a lot of liquidity, he added.
Jawad I. Ali, managing partner-Middle East offices at King & Spalding, said: “We take these conferences to different cities. We choose topics that always engage with regulators. However, regulations have not reached up to international standards. The CMA basically is trying to set up an infrastructure for investment.”
CMA Vice Chairman Mohammed Abdullah Elkuwaiz