Breaking: Saudi Arabia Issues First License for Forex Trading

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the newest regulatory destination in the MENA region

The ever-evolving and ever-growing marketplace in the Middle East is getting even more attractive as new regulatory jurisdictions continue to emerge. The latest news from the region concerns one of the most populous countries in the area – Saudi Arabia. With a rising population reaching 32 million as of 2017, the country is a lucrative destination for forex brokers.

Yesterday, on April 25, the country became even more attractive after issuing the first forex broker license. The Saudi Capital Markets Authority granted the first official permit to Riyad Capital.

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The company confirmed the news via its verified Twitter account around a local financial industry conference in Riyadh. The newly licensed broker for forex trading in Saudi Arabia is a platform in the Kingdom.

Insider Market or Free Competition?

Despite the overall positive news for the market, the regulatory permits regime in Saudi Arabia could be the privilege of carefully selected few companies. Riyad Capital is a subsidiary of Riyad Bank, which is the third largest financial institution in the country. The Saudi state owns 51 percent of the bank.

With the first regulatory license now on the table, it remains to be seen whether other companies would be able to apply and secure the lucrative permit. While Saudi Arabia has been opening up its capital markets over the past several years, its progress has been slow and the country is still tightly controlled by the state.

The country and financial markets locally have long been preparing for the IPO listing of the biggest state-owned company Saudi Aramco. That said earlier this month, the firm managed to raise 10 times the bids it sought in a major bond sale which could have changed the country’s plans for a public listing.

Saudi Arabia has also been making headlined in the cryptocurrency space. the country’s central bank has been working in conjunction with UAE monetary authorities to create a joint token.

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