Saudis to Ease Market Rules Next Month in Bid for Foreign Cashby
Amended stock rules will lower AUM requirement to $1 billion
Changes coming into force 10 months before informal deadline
Saudi Arabia approved new rules for foreigners wanting to invest in its stocks as the kingdom seeks to open up its equity market amid a slump in crude prices.
The regulations -- which will cut the amount of assets foreigners must have under management to invest directly in the nation’s stocks to 3.75 billion riyals ($1 billion) from 18.75 billion riyals -- will come into force on Sept. 4, according to a statement from the Capital Market Authority on Wednesday. They will also allow individual foreign investors to own not more than 10 percent of shares outstanding in a single company, up from 5 percent.
The Riyadh-based regulator said in May the changes would take effect before the end of the first half of 2017. Saudi Arabia is opening one of the world’s most closed stock markets to increased international participation after oil prices more than halved in the past two years. The Tadawul Stock Exchange started allowing limited foreign direct investment in June last year under rules that govern which entities can invest and how much of each company and the market they can own.
Sovereign wealth funds and university endowments will be allowed to invest under the new rules. The regulations also include the option for qualified foreign investors to engage with either a Saudi or non-Saudi portfolio manager to oversee their investments, including those from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, of which the kingdom is a member.