Sheikh Khalifa bin Ibrahim, Chairperson of the Bahrain Bourse, has revealed during the annual conference of the Arab Federation of Capital Markets that there is a plan in place to offer five state-run companies on the stock exchange during the year.
The conference witnessed the transfer of the presidency of the federation from Saudi Tadawul to the Bahrain Bourse.
The IPO strategy focuses on developing the financial market sector by encouraging initial subscriptions and listing more companies, including small and medium-sized companies, in addition to including sustainable development in the work of the stock exchange and working to join the emerging market indices, according to Khalifa.
He explained that the development plan aims to achieve financial sustainability and economic stability and develop sectors of strategic priority, especially the oil and gas sector.
Khalifa added during the first session of the conference, that the Bahrain Bourse has a vision to increase the investor base, that the Bourse is in the process of expanding the investor base, as an agreement was signed with local banks to facilitate the process of trading procedures by their clients regionally, and an agreement was signed in Abu Dhabi to facilitate the direct trading process between the two markets, and the other with the Amman Stock Exchange.
In addition, a number of protocols with the Arab markets have been signed to facilitate the double-enrolment process, to attract a larger number of investors, and to increase liquidity levels in the market.
He pointed out that there is great encouragement to offer non-bank financial services companies, whether locally or a dual offering, pointing out that the Bahrain Bourse is working on a strategy to develop the financial services sector that extends from 2022 to 2026.
He added that the Bahrain Bourse seeks to facilitate the listing process by reducing costs and reducing disclosure rates, as well as providing more incentives to encourage the offering and investment process, pointing out that attracting foreign flows to the capital market is a top priority.
He pointed out that the Bahraini government attaches great importance to the Bahraini capital market, as it adopts a new strategy represented in financing major projects from a mixture between the capital market and the debt markets.
On the other hand, he said that individuals were allowed to trade in the sukuk and shares market, and this year witnessed individuals snapping up about 20% of the sector, expecting that percentage to increase during the next year.
He stressed that there is continuous cooperation with neighbouring Arab markets by providing an immediate clearing mechanism between different markets in various currencies by signing memorandum of cooperation between them.
He stated that 50% of the Bahraini capital market’s trading is foreign, which prompted a focus on accelerating the pace of digital transformation, starting with signing contracts for traders through to settlement processes.
He stressed that the Bahrain Bourse is one of the most open financial markets to the world, and foreign investment.
In a related context, Abeer Al-Saad, Director of the Capital Markets Supervision Directorate at the Central Bank of Bahrain, said that the Central Bank of Bahrain is striving to improve the capital market to enhance the confidence of investors, pointing out that all financial tools have been made available in order to accelerate the process of digital transformation in the capital market.
Al-Saad added, during the activities of the first session of the Arab Federation of Capital Markets conference, that the EKYC service has been available electronically since January 2021, in addition to the launch of the SANDBOX service by the Bahraini Central.
She pointed out that the Bahraini capital market witnessed the establishment of the first blank check company to encourage listing on the stock exchange for emerging companies, pointing out that it was established in early 2021.
She expected a great deal of activity in the processes of listing start-up companies with innovative ideas, after the legislative boom that took place in the Bahrain capital market.