Saudi Stock Exchange Joins FTSE Global Equity Index Series

Press release
Published March 29th, 2018 - 09:55 GMT
This decision was issued following a series of market enhancements introduced by Tadawul and the Capital Market Authority (CMA) over the past two years.
This decision was issued following a series of market enhancements introduced by Tadawul and the Capital Market Authority (CMA) over the past two years.

FTSE Russell announced on Wednesday that the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) will be classified as a “Secondary Emerging” market in the FTSE Global Equity Index Series from its previous status as “Unclassified”.

This decision was issued following a series of market enhancements introduced by Tadawul and the Capital Market Authority (CMA) over the past two years. Many of those developments have fulfilled market quality criteria set by FTSE Russell that must be met in order for a market to be classified as Emerging in its indices.

"The CMA continues to develop the Saudi capital market and to facilitate investments in order to enhance the Capital Market’s efficiency, as well as promote its regional and international competitiveness," said Mohammed El-Kuwaiz, Chairman of the Capital Market Authority (CMA).

"This achievement is in line with the Financial Sector Development Program which is part of the Saudi Vision 2030 and reflects the efforts of both the CMA and Tadawul," he added.

“Over the past year, Tadawul has continued to work closely with Saudi government bodies and leading emerging market investors to introduce capital market reforms to bolster the effectiveness of the market and foster an attractive investment climate for local and international investors,” said Sarah Al Suhaimi, Chairperson of Tadawul.

"We are proud that all these efforts have gained Tadawul inclusion in one of the most preeminent global indices to be benchmarked.”

“FTSE’s announcement today is significant for Tadawul in that it indicates growing investor confidence in the Saudi capital market and recognition that we are among the largest and most liquid emerging markets in the world,” said Khalid Al Hussan, Chief Executive Officer of Tadawul.

"Guided by Vision 2030, we remain steadfast in our commitment to the reforms already introduced and in the pipeline so that we may continue to grow investor confidence worldwide and further strengthen the Saudi market.”

The Road to FTSE Russell Index Inclusion

Saudi Arabia was added to the FTSE Russell Watch List in September 2015 following the introduction of the Kingdom’s Qualified Foreign Investor (QFI) program, and was maintained at Watch List status in the organization’s 2016 country classification.

In October 2017, FTSE Russell launched the FTSE Saudi Arabia Inclusion Index Series, a comprehensive series of global, regional and country-level indexes which can be used as a transitional tool to assist domestic and international investors who wish to seek early index-based exposure to the market.

Key reforms undertaken that had an impact on the Kingdom’s FTSE inclusion include:

• Amending the settlement cycle to T+2 for all listed securities to increase the level of asset safety for investors and to unify the settlement duration for all types of listed securities. The amendment of the settlement cycle brings the Saudi Market in alignment with the standards set by other international exchanges. In addition, securities borrowing and lending and short selling were introduced for all listed stocks. These changes went live in April 2017.

• Dropping the cash prefunding requirement for specific investors, leaving the timing of cash availability to the contractual terms between the Authorized Person and the investor. This will align trading practice with good international standards, and standardize institutional investors’ trading processes especially investment funds.

• Introduction of Fails Management Controls that is offered by SDC for executing brokers to cover securities shortage by transferring securities from the principle account, borrowing securities via SBL function, buying securities on open market, or preforming optional Buy-in. Also, mandatory Buy-in can be conducted by SDC.

• Introduction of a Delivery versus Payment Model (DvP) to comply with the principle of DvP, wherein the delivery of securities occurs only if the corresponding payment occurs.

• Enhancements to the Independent Custody Model which enable custodians to reject the settlement of unconfirmed trades executed by the executing brokers in April 2017.

• Introduction of Securities Borrowing & Lending and short selling: Tadawul is the first market in the region to offer Securities Borrowing and Lending and covered short selling for all listed stocks.

• Adoption of new corporate governance rules issued by the Saudi Capital Market Authority (CMA) in February 2017. The rules enhance the rights of shareholders and board members and provide greater clarity and more transparency around determining commercial strategic planning, roles, responsibilities and oversight of corporate entities and third parties.

• Permitting QFIs to participate in IPOs, a change that was instituted in January 2017.

• Introduction of Nomu, a parallel equity market for Qualified Investors that offers lighter listing requirements and serves as an alternative platform for companies to go public. The Nomu-parallel market was launched in February 2017.

• The introduction of Real Estate Investment Traded Funds (REITs) to further diversify the availability of investment opportunities and promote investment in real estate for all market participants.

Background Information

The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul)

On the 19th of March 2007, the Council of Ministers approved the formation of The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul). This was in accordance with Article-20 of the Capital Market Law establishing Tadawul as a joint stock company. Tadawul is the sole entity authorized in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to act as the Securities Exchange (the Exchange). It mainly carries out listing and trading in securities, as well as deposit, transfer, clearing, settlement, and registry of ownership of securities traded on the Exchange. The legal status, duties, and responsibilities of the Exchange and Depository Center are explicitly defined in the Capital Market Law (CML) issued by Royal Decree Number (M/30), dated on June 16, 2003. The Exchange is also the official source of all market information.

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