The Saudi Capital Market Authority visited the New York Stock Exchange today to provide the U.S. investment community with a comprehensive update on the emerging Saudi capital markets, showcasing foreign investments in Saudi Arabia, and the reform agenda the country has taken in order to build a more open and competitive economy. This follows a series of successful investor meetings hosted by Goldman Sachs.
His Excellency Dr. Abdulrahman A. Al-Tuwaijri, Chairman of the Saudi Arabia Capital Market Authority, which is responsible for regulating the Tadawul, the Saudi stock exchange, led the Saudi delegation. Dr. Al-Tuwaijri officially addressed U.S. institutional investors to highlight investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and then opened the market this morning by ringing The Opening Bell(SM) at the NYSE.
In addition to His Excellency Dr. Abdulrahman A. Al-Tuwaijri, several executives from leading Saudi companies were on hand at The Opening Bell ceremony, including:
-- Georges Schorderet: CFO, Almarai
-- Khalid Al-Kaf: CEO, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily)
-- Thamer Al-Hosani: CFO, Etihad Etisalat (Mobily)
-- Abdulkarim Al-Agil: CEO, Jarir Marketing Company
-- Mohamed Amin: CFO, Jarir Marketing Company
-- Abdullah Al-Fallaj: Finance Vice President, Saudi Arabian Mining
-- Fahad Al-Meqren: President of US Business, National Shipping Company
of Saudi Arabia
-- Salik Ahmed: CEO, Samba Capital
-- Azzam Al-Dakhil: CEO, Saudi Research and Marketing Group
-- Abdullah Al-Suweilmy: CEO, Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul)
-- Khalid Al-Ghurair: General Manager of Financial Planning and
Budgeting, Saudi Telecom Company
Saudi Arabia offers investors an abundance of investment opportunities, as it possesses the biggest economy and largest capital market in the Middle East. In fact, its markets are one of the largest and most liquid among any of the world's emerging markets. "Saudi Arabia has managed to emerge in a position of relative strength from the severe global financial turbulence of the past year," said Dr. Al-Tuwaijri. "The Tadawul return was around 30 percent last year making Saudi Arabia the best performing market in the Gulf," said Dr. Al-Tuwaijri.
As evidence of the rapidly increasing interest in the Saudi market by U.S. investors, nine leading Saudi Arabian companies held a combined total of over 100 meetings with U.S. buy-side investors.
Over the past decade, Saudi Arabia embarked on a vigorous reform agenda in order to build a more open and competitive economy, one that supports macroeconomic stability. By strengthening the structures already in place and creating new mechanisms for investment, the Capital Market Authority hopes to further bolster the economy's attractiveness. "The reforms of the past decade have been carefully sequenced," said His Excellency Dr. Abdulrahman A. Al-Tuwaijri. "The government has implemented new measures to liberalize our market in order to ensure the right regulatory framework and market infrastructure are firmly in place - and these measures are succeeding," said Dr. Al-Tuwaijri.
Throughout the day Dr. Al-Tuwaijri encouraged foreign investment in Saudi Arabia. He noted that most of the large global investment banks now have a presence in Riyadh, helping to increase the competition and bring additional international financial expertise into the Saudi market. "Since opening up our markets to foreign participation through swap agreements, we have seen over $7.2 billion in trades flow into Saudi Arabia -- and as foreign investors become more familiar with the market, we expect this level to grow," said Dr. Al-Tuwaijri.
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