The IFN Saudi Arabia Forum,
IFN returns to Saudi Arabia for the seventh time to host one of the biggest events in its annual calendar. IFN Saudi Arabia Forum 2018 will be held in Riyadh to explore the opportunities in one of the most active and influential markets in the Islamic financial world, bringing the Kingdom onto the global stage and opening up the market for local, domestic and international players interested in entering this most vibrant of industries.
Saudi Arabia has embarked on a concerted effort to enhance and improve its Islamic finance capabilities in recent years, in tandem with its National Transformation Program 2020 pushing the Kingdom to diversify away from an oil-based economy as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 driven by the pioneering new Crown Prince Mohammed Salman. With the oil price volatility of recent years forcing Gulf economies to seek new methods of fundraising, Saudi Arabia made history in 2017 with a debut US dollar Sukuk issuance of US$9 billion, followed by multiple domestic Saudi riyal issuances, all of which met with exceptional investor demand and which have carved a place for Saudi as one of the most influential sovereign issuers of Islamic paper in the world. Major Islamic issuances from state-owned enterprises such as Saudi Aramco and Saudi Electricity Company have also gone a long way toward creating a yield curve encouraging new issuers to enter the market, and Saudi is well on the way to developing an active domestic corporate capital market of its own.
The Kingdom has also concentrated on expanding and opening up its equity markets: welcoming foreign investors to Tadawul in 2016 and gradually enhancing transparency and regulation through a series of robust overhauls that have supported confidence in the Kingdom and seen foreign funds flood into the market. The launch of its new alternative SME equity exchange, Nomu, in 2017 was a pioneering move to encourage small businesses and develop its private equity market, while its booming IPO sector expects to make history in mid-2018 with the long-awaited Saudi Aramco IPO – which could become the biggest listing in history and which has overseas exchanges jockeying for a piece of the pie.
Real estate of course remains a prime focus, and REITs proved the surprise success story of the past year, with Saudi taking the lead among GCC nations in setting up a conducive regulatory environment to encourage the establishment of numerous successful funds. Project and infrastructure finance also continues apace, with major new sectors such as transportation, solar power and the Red Sea Tourism project opening up new opportunities for Islamic finance.
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Our exclusive access to the movers and shakers who matter make IFN Saudi Arabia Forum the essential event for anyone with interest in the Saudi market. IFN Saudi Arabia Forum 2018 is slated to attract global market players eager to gain access to the highly lucrative Saudi Arabian market. With its solid regulatory framework combined with a commendable commitment to innovation and progress, the Saudi Arabian market looks set to continue its success story and consolidate its position as one of the most influential markets in the Islamic finance world.