Saudi Arabia to Open Fledgling Small-Cap Market to Foreigners

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia will allow foreigners to trade shares directly in its market for smaller companies as the kingdom gradually opens its market amid a wider drive to diversify its economy.

The platform, known as Nomu, will be open to foreigners starting January, Capital Market Authority Chairman Mohammed Elkuwaiz said during an event in Riyadh on Thursday. Qualification requirements for foreign investors that apply to the main stock market will be waived for those trading in Nomu, he said.

The decision is the latest effort by Saudi Arabia to turn its stock market into a gateway for increased investment from abroad as authorities seek to transform an economy that’s over-reliant on oil revenue. Nomu was set up earlier this year to attract smaller firms to the Middle East’s largest exchange.

Companies listed there don’t need a track record of profitability, but must have operated for at least a year and have a market value of at least 10 million riyals ($2.7 million).

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