As many as 19 businesses are waiting to complete listing procedures in the Saudi financial market, Chairman of Capital Market Authority (CMA) Mohammed El-Kuwaiz said on the sidelines of the EFG Hermes Saudi Forum in London.
The CMA is also considering almost 50 listing applications, he added.
The Saudi market underwent many changes in quick succession in the past five years, El-Kuwaiz said, adding that the CMA still has a lot to do within the next five years to upgrade the financial market and ensure that it ranks among the top 10 global markets by 2030.
However, it is keen on making balanced changes to give investors time to adapt, he noted.
The CMA is focusing on developing the asset management industry in the Kingdom to compete with regional and global peers, as part the plan to shift towards a regional and global position.
El-Kuwaiz expects improvement in asset management, which will have a better ability to compete as it removes or reduces Zakat and tax dealings.
He added that the CMA will soon completely revisit all securities regulations to ensure that they are helpful for the capital market participants, especially the businesses that seek to raise funds from the capital market, i.e. the debt market.
Six years ago, Saudi Arabia was a big market with a large liquidity, but it was only a local market with limited growth. Opening the market to foreign investors allowed it to become a regional leader. “We hope this will help it rank among the top 10 markets globally by 2030,” El-Kuwaiz added.
The existing laws allow foreigners to invest in the Saudi debt and parallel markets on par with nationals. The only difference between investors occurs in the main market, El-Kuwaiz commented, adding that gradual steps are being taken to change this.
Over the past years, Saudi Arabia changed from funds outflow to inflow and developed into a center for opportunities and investments.
The CMA is keen to protect investors, especially minority shareholders, through various legislations. The Kingdom made accelerated progress in this regard.
Moreover, the debt market will witness many updates and developments, which are expected to better drive the market to attract investors and issuers, he concluded.