HSBC gets license to buy Saudi stocks directly

HSBCHSBC Holdings has received a qualified foreign investor license in Saudi Arabia and traded shares on the bourse on the first day that direct foreign investment was allowed, the bank said.
“Today marks one of the most important moments in the history of Saudi financial markets and HSBC is pleased to have played a role in supporting their development,” it said in a written response to Reuters questions.
Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority has not yet announced any license awards, but stock exchange CEO Adel Al-Ghamdi told Reuters in London that the first transaction by a qualified foreign investor was due to take place on Monday. He did not name the investor.
Previously, foreigners could only buy stocks in the $564 billion market, the largest in the Arab world, indirectly through channels such as swaps.
Riyadh is opening the market as a way to expose companies to market discipline and diversify its economy beyond oil.

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