LONDON: The UK is a “natural partner” as Saudi Arabia pursues its ambitious Vision 2030 reforms, a high-profile forum heard on Wednesday. 

Donald Brydon, chairman of the London Stock Exchange Group, said London would provide “a gateway and a bridge” for international capital as Saudi Arabia looks to privatize up to $300 billion worth of state-owned assets.

“The Kingdom’s time for privatizations is now, and the UK is the natural partner to ensure the successful delivery of these,” Brydon told the annual BMG Economic Forum, held in London in conjunction with Arab News.

The BMG Economic Forum addressed wider investment opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom’s vision for the future.

“This is a new era for Saudi Arabia. An era of great opportunities coupled with great challenges,” said the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group, Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini.

The need for greater transparency and clarity when it comes to the rule of law was a key challenge highlighted during one panel discussion.

Moderator Faisal J. Abbas, Editor in Chief of Arab News, the official media partner of the event, questioned panelists about investors’ common misconceptions and stereotypes about the Kingdom.

Dr. Afnan Al-Shuaibi, former secretary general of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce, said the issue is a combination of many factors.

“The problems with any investor or anyone wishing to do business in Saudi Arabia (is) they don’t know where to start. Do they start with the commercial office or the embassy?” she said.

“It is not really clear where to get the accurate information from … I think there has to be a one-stop shop that offers that.”

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