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Goldman Sachs Applies for Saudi Equities Trading License | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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FILE PHOTO: A sign is displayed in the reception of the Sydney offices of Goldman Sachs in Australia, May 18, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo

Riyadh-Goldman Sachs is trying to expand its business in Saudi Arabia by applying for a license to trade shares.

The investment bank has applied for an equities trading license from the Kingdom’s Capital Market Authority (CMA), in a step that reflects the attractiveness of the Saudi financial market.

Goldman Sachs’ move comes as a new step following granting Citigroup an investment banking license, which allowed it to return to the kingdom in April after being absent for more than 13 years.

The Saudi CMA refused to give further details regarding US Goldman Sachs’ request, yet Asharq Al-Awsat was informed that the CMA has received several requests from world banks to work in the country’s stock market.

The remarkable demand by international banks for a license to operate in the Saudi stock market is due to the huge programs that the Kingdom is working on to achieve the “Vision 2030” for the post-oil phase in the country.

The financial sector development program, announced by Saudi Arabia as part of the “Vision 2030,” is an important step towards developing the local capital market and placing it among the top 10 financial markets in the world.

This comes at a time when the Kingdom is working on many economic reforms that contributed to spare the economy of the country from the negative effects it could face due to the sharp declines in oil prices.

For its part, Reuters reported that Goldman Sachs has applied to Saudi Arabia’s capital markets regulator for a license to trade equities in the kingdom, two sources familiar with the move said, in the latest step by Western banks to expand operations in the country.

Goldman has made the application to the CMA and a successful outcome could lead to a further expansion of its business in the kingdom, one of the sources said.