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MSCI approval: Knock-on effects

If Qatar does get MSCI approval this year, it might well be joined by the UAE. Last year MSCI said it "continues to be encouraged by the planned future enhancements by the Emirati regulator," which included increased foreign ownership limit levels, equal foreign access to the local equity market and a DVP settlement system like Qatar’s. MSCI noted, though, that "these future enhancements were announced some time ago", and that "international institutional investors are hopeful that [financial turmoil] will not bring any further delay in the implementation of the proposed enhancements. Investors would also welcome a public roadmap from the regulator and the exchanges providing visibility on the timetable of implementation of these changes."

At the time of writing, the UAE was continuing to make the right noises but appeared to be behind Qatar in implementing changes. It is now running short of time. However, fund managers in the region think the benefits of inclusion are such that the necessary changes will be made. The fact that the UAE has historically had three separate exchanges adds some complexity but is not considered a likely problem because the MSCI has never raised it as an issue before.

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