Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority is in the process of finalising a regulatory framework to permit foreign investors to directly own stocks inside the country, according to state officials.
"We are attracting foreign investment to come to the market for technical expertise and human capacity," CAM chairman Mohammed bin Abdulmalik al-Sheikh was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the Euromoney conference in Riyadh.
"There are a number of government entities, including CMA, that are looking at that [direct foreign investment]. We're finalising a regulatory framework with certain parameters," al-Sheikh added.
Currently, foreign investors can only buy shares in the Arab world’s largest market through swapping deals involving international investment banks or via a small number of exchange-traded funds.
The regulator is also trying to limit “high levels of speculation” in the stock market, al-Sheikh -- previously a World Bank official -- claimed on the sidelines of a conference.
“The CMA should put a limit on this manipulation to safeguard investors. We are currently trying to address this issue.”
Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz al-Assaf has meanwhile said that the Saudi Kingdom will continue to strengthen the process of economic development and provide a favourable investment environment and stimulate the private sector.