Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) is looking to raise its contribution to the national economy by listing 24 companies in 2024, in addition to growing its assets under management (AUM) to 29.4% of the GDP, by year-end, according to a new report.

The kingdom’s Financial Sector Development Program 2023 (FSDP) document further states that, in a bid to enhance the market’s attractiveness to foreign investors, the CMA will target 17% ownership of free float shares by the end of 2024.

“We have placed innovation and investment at the top of our priorities because we recognise the importance of building a dynamic financial environment that allow companies – especially startups – to flourish and succeed,” stated Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Finance and Chairman of the FSDP.

Other key targets set by the CMA include supporting the development of new and promising sectors, with a target of having micro and small enterprises account for 45% of total listings in 2024.

The CMA also wants to deepen the sukuk and debt instruments market and increase the debt-to-GDP ratio to 22.1% by the end of 2024.

Al-Jadaan added that in 2023, the number of FinTech companies also exceeded 216, “bringing it closer to achieving the target number for 2030, which is 525 companies.”

Growth in capital markets

Mohammed ElKuwaiz, Chairman of the CMA, noted how the capital market ecosystem was bolstering its efforts to contribute to developing the financial sector and achieving the Saudi Vision 2030, with 43 companies listed in 2023 to bring the total number of companies listed to 310.

“In order to encourage foreign investment, raise the attractiveness and efficiency of the capital market, and enhance its international competitiveness, rules for foreign investment in securities were approved, which played a role in increasing the volume of foreign investments in the capital market, reaching 401 billion Saudi riyals ($106.9 billion),” ElKuwaiz added.

The FSDP report also set targets for the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA), which include developing digital solutions to supervise the financial sector, enabling local and international FinTechs in the Saudi market, updating debt-based crowdfunding rules, and facilitating the commercial launch of digital banks.

(Reporting by Bindu Rai, editing by Seban Scaria )