Wednesday 4, May 2016

Riyadh – MENA Herald: Delegates at the 11th Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference heard today from one of the world’s foremost emerging markets experts that the Kingdom holds tremendous potential for global investors.

Thanks in large part to the Capital Market Authority’s (CMA) recent rulings relating to increased allowance for foreign investment in the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), there will likely be a strong uptake in interest among global investors, according to Dr. Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group.

“I am here in the Kingdom because I think the Vision 2030 programme could be revolutionary not just for Saudi Arabia, but for the region, creating enormous drawing power for inward investment for the entire region,” said Dr. Mobius, whose organisation, to date, has invested USD 360 million in Saudi Arabia.

He added: “We want to put more money in Saudi Arabia, and we want to invest directly in companies, many of which here are truly global companies. We believe sharia finance is fantastic from an equity point of view, as investors are seen as partners. We always look at a company’s corporate governance approach as it relates to dealing with minority investors, and here it is very positive.”

The future of Saudi’s debt market was discussed at great length today, with global experts debating trends in bank lending, public sector versus corporate issuance, and the roles of the Capital Market Authority and Saudi Stock Exchange.

Speakers addressing the gathering included: Mona Al Tawil, Director, Head of Structured Finance, HSBC Saudi Arabia Limited; Mohamed Hamra-Krouha, Partner, Head of Banking and Projects, Clifford Chance; Manish Manchandya, Head of Corporate Finance, Saudi Electricity Company; and Alexis Taffin de Tilques, Head of Debt Capital Markets CEEMEA, BNP Paribas.

At a panel on the second day of the event, experts from a range of organisations addressed the Kingdom’s real estate market – its pricing, demand, and the impact of a changing macro outlook – but also the role of global real estate as the preferred asset class for KSA investors.

Experts taking part in the debate included: Bader Al-Hammad, Chairman, Maceen Capital; Imad Damrah, Managing Director KSA, Colliers International; Amro Nahas, Head of Real Estate Investment, MASIC; and Salman Abdullah Bin Saedan, Chairman, Salman Abdullah Bin Saedan Group.

Finally, discussions on the second day included debate about the future role of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the backbone of any sustainable economy. There were updates on new development initiatives, and questions asked as to what types of SMEs could best benefit the Kingdom’s economy.

Participants in the panel included: Rakan Al-Eidi, Venture Partner, MENA, 500 Startups; Abdulkarim Al-Nujaidi, Director General, HRDF; Chris Innes-Hopkins, UK Executive Director, Saudi British Joint Business Council; and Ahmed Matar, Head of Investment Banking, Maceen Capital.

The 11th Euromoney Saudi Arabia Conference is the longest-running, largest and most influential financial conference in the Kingdom. This year, it attracted over 1,500 invitation-only delegates from all over the region and the world.