Changing Saudi prepares to open up

Chris Wright
Published on:

The Saudi Arabian Capital Markets Authority, unveiled its final rules in May, heralding the opening of the country’s stock market to foreign institutional capital in mid June. How will the market change as foreigners come in, and who benefits? And how long will it take before foreign institutions are comfortable enough with the technical side of Saudi trading to move in?

Mark Diab, head of MENA equities for Man Investments Middle East in Dubai, says: 'Whether the market opens or not is irrelevant if the fundamental reasons to be invested in Saudi are not compelling, which we think they are'

Credit where it’s due: Saudi Arabia’s Capital Markets Authority said it would spend several months listening to the market before announcing the final rules for the opening of the country’s stock markets, and listen it did.

Granted, having listened, it then went ahead with more or less exactly the same rules it had started out with. But, after years as the world’s most inaccessible major emerging market, just listening is a sign of progressive openness.

Besides, ever since the draft rules were published to widespread surprise last August, there has been a welcome sense that the CMA knows exactly what it is doing. If foreign investors...