International standards eyed as lure for Boursa

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KUWAIT CITY, May 18, (Agencies): The Kuwaiti Capital Markets Authority (CMA) is working on measures within international standards to lure investors, said a senior official on Thursday. Efforts to bolster transparency in all sectors of the Kuwaiti market would continue to enable Boursa Kuwait – the stock exchange – to gain further international footing, Ahmad Al-Melhem, Chairman of CMA Board of Commissioners – Managing Director said in an interview with KUNA. The CMA is working on introducing more products and financial services soon including a platform to list and trade in bonds and funds at the market. The introduction of such tools came in line with efforts to lure investors after launching the services for revenue-producing real-estate funds, margin trading, and many more.

Al-Melhem affirmed that the CMA was keen on providing auditing and regulatory services for dealing with traded shares for individuals, in addition to providing legal services for trading. The CMA also is eager to make sure that the legislative and operative environments for trading were up-to-date and ready for human cadres for use to provide the best of services to investors and encouraging individuals, institutions and other entities to invest. Al-Melhem revealed that the CMA had launched its 2023-24 and 2026-27 strategies to meet the demands of the upcoming period and boost the level of trading at Boursa Kuwait and the financial status of the State of Kuwait.

The strategies would aim to increase awareness within the investment, legal, and information security sectors for all those involved in the market’s activities. He also noted that the CMA’s plans were in line with Kuwait’s 2035 vision and the authority’s contributions to turning Kuwait into an international financial and business hub. Al-Melhem went on to say that the CMA was looking into measure to establish a national strategy for financial inclusion in cooperation with several state entities to provide affordable products and services for individuals and businesses. He noted that the initial steps towards that goal was launched in March of this year.

On the positive impact of upgrading Kuwait to the emerging market ranks, Al-Melhem affirmed that it encouraged foreign investors, major corporations, and foreign capitals to invest more in the Kuwaiti market with an estimated KD 1.6 billion (around USD five billion) coming in during the upgrading period that occurred between 2018 and the end of 2020. The upgrade also increased daily exchange at the market 2020 on a daily average of KD 62 million (an estimated USD 187.8 million) when compared to KD 18 million (around USD 54.5 million) in 2018, he pointed out. He revealed that the upgrade also allowed for introducing investment products at foreign markets based on Kuwaiti shares, which joined international indices.

Kuwait was upgraded to the emerging market ranks at the (FTSE Russell) index in September 2017, the S&P Dow Jones Indices (S&P DJI) in December 2018, and the (MSCI) index in June 2019. The Capital Markets Authority last month asked investment companies to provide it with a report on the huge or unusual operations that the company is carrying out, reports Al-Jarida daily. Informed sources told the daily one of the procedures followed by the CMA regarding combating money laundering and terrorist financing operations is in accordance with the text of Article (38-3) of the CMA Law, which states that the authorized person must be careful and scrutinize all complex and huge transactions and all unusual patterns of operations that have no clear economic or legal objective. The sources stated that, through the inspection campaigns carried out by the CMA field teams, the latter requested to provide it with reports that include all the huge and unusual operations carried out by the company, noting that some companies refrained from providing the authority with these reports, which raises doubts about the inability of these companies to fulfill the instructions issued in this regard.

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