The Business Year

Adel S. Al-Ghamdi

SAUDI ARABIA - Finance

Be The Bourse

CEO, Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul)

Bio

Adel S. Al-Ghamdi is the CEO of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) and a CHA Charterholder and member of the CFA Society in the UK. He has over 17 years of experience in the financial services industry, holding a number of senior positions such as General Manager of Corporate Finance & Issuance at the Capital Market Authority (CMA), and having led a number of capital market transactions and government related M&As as an Associate Director in the Global Investment Banking Advisory arm of HSBC Saudi Arabia. During the beginning of his career he held various key positions at Riyad Bank Europe and Riyad Bank London. He also currently serves as a Board Member at the Tadawul Real Estate Company.

What are you doing to protect investors? The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), by virtue of law, sits as both the national securities exchange and sole securities depository in the Kingdom. […]

What are you doing to protect investors?

The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul), by virtue of law, sits as both the national securities exchange and sole securities depository in the Kingdom. As such, we are in a privileged position acting as the exclusive gateway to the Saudi capital markets. As a result of this exclusivity, we are not only a commercial entity seeking to grow our business with the aim of generating strong and sustainable financial performance, but we are also a national interest entrusted with tremendous social and economic responsibilities, primary amongst which is upholding the integrity of our capital market and protecting its stakeholders. We will continue to honor this privilege and responsibility by continuously acting with due regard to our corporate socioeconomic obligations, and by empowering our issuers, members, data vendors, and investors with cutting-edge market technologies and a highly liquid and efficient trading platform. We must also require and foster a high degree of disclosure, transparency, and corporate governance among our issuers by evolving ourselves into a representative beacon of excellence. It is by these fundamental means that we protect our investors.

There is a rumor that you are hoping to open the market to FDI. Is there a timeline for that?

As far as the Saudi capital markets are concerned, I think that the issue of allowing direct foreign portfolio investments has been discussed and debated at many levels and, ultimately, I believe it is a simple matter of “when” rather than “if” Saudi Arabia enacts policies to allow such investment flows. As a member of the global community, we have implicit harmonization commitments that we must continue to work actively to honor. In this respect, it is worth mentioning that the Saudi Stock Exchange is already positioning itself well for any potential changes to foreign investment policy. Indeed, the IFSAH issuer disclosures system, since its launch in June, 2013, has enabled all of our listed companies to announce their periodic financial results in both English and Arabic. We will continue to lay down the required groundwork to ensure that the Saudi Stock Exchange is ready for this highly anticipated policy shift.

How does the Saudi Stock Exchange promote economic diversification?

We promote economic diversification by providing companies with an efficient venue for accessing capital. We augment this operational aspect of our business by conducting various marketing and educational activities. Indeed, the Saudi Stock Exchange has been very active in reaching out to family-owned businesses across the Kingdom with the aim of enhancing awareness about the virtues of becoming a listed company, particularly in areas related to business continuity, corporate governance, inheritance, and succession planning. Over the course of the last two years, we have conducted three IPO events in three of the key provinces in the Kingdom. These events have attracted the attendance of more than 220 family-owned businesses, resulting in more than 70 one-on-one meetings, of which around 50% have culminated in companies seeking further counsel from licensed financial advisors. Ultimately, we are committed to growing the economy by offering value-added capital raising frameworks for all sectors, with a focus on SMEs. New developments in our ecosystem will provide us with the right tools to achieve this.

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