ICAEW: KSA financial landscape is evolving

Achieving Saudi Arabia’s Delivery Plan 2020, as part of its wider Saudi Vision 2030 Realisation Program, requires consolidation of the Kingdom’s regulatory laws, investment listing rules, and corporate governance. This was the view during ICAEW’s Corporate Finance Faculty (CFF) roundtable on corporate fundraising and its challenges and opportunities in the Kingdom.

Panellists and invited guests discussed the outlook for venture capital under the current economic conditions in Saudi Arabia. The speakers also highlighted the limited accessibility to corporate finance in the Kingdom, and how it varies between small, medium and large organisations.

Speakers advised private companies in the Kingdom to hire both legal and financial advisors, before going public – to fulfil the requirements of the Capital Market Authority. Once public, speakers mentioned that investment bankers play a crucial role in marketing the company to the investment community, both regionally and globally. Such marketing strategies are often done through various initiatives, such as roadshows and conferences, to generate interest.

Panellists included Hani Enaya, Partner, Saudi Technology Ventures; Omar Jahidi, Director, Investment Banking Advisory, HSBC Saudi Arabia; Khlood Aldukhail, Managing Director, Aldukheil Financial Group; and Amr Sager, Founder, Sager Investor Relations. The event was moderated by Adnan Zakariya, Managing Director, Protiviti.

Panellists applauded the steps that the Kingdom’s capital market has taken in recent years, to approve the listing rules of foreign companies and to elevate corporate governance in Saudi Arabia.  

Michael Armstrong, FCA and ICAEW Regional Director for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), said: “Vision 2030 sets out a blueprint for the future of Saudi Arabia. We are pleased to see the necessary reforms and the progress the Kingdom has made in improving its financial business landscape; such as the implementation of its 2020 privatisation Delivery Plan. The program aims to strengthen competition, raise the quality of services and economic development, improve the business environment, and remove obstacles that prevent the private sector from playing a more significant role in the Kingdom’s development.

Through such game-changing initiatives supporting private companies, we will see an increase in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) which will lead to greater economic sustainability and long-term benefits for the economy.”

Speakers mentioned that although more startups are being set up in the Kingdom, there is limited accessibility to corporate finance for companies in the investment community. They also mentioned that there are a lot of early-stage investors in the region – but not enough “series b” investors and beyond.