Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- While Saudis have felt the pinch of the recent stock market crash, psychiatrists have seen their business boom, as more patients turn to them suffering from stress-related illnesses.
“The stock market crash has had a very bad effect on the psychological health of Saudis. Many lost huge sums of money, in a few as much as 90% of their capital. They are now on medication to alleviate stress and other psychological illnesses, said Mohammed al Hamed, a psychiatrist in this western port city and an investor in the Saudi market.
Hamed told a select audience at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce on Thursday that it was important to look beyond past losses. “All the main elements needed to restore investor confidence in the market are present. The market’s future is now in the hands of the regulators who must wisely deal with it to restore investor confidence.” His remarks came during a day-long symposium on the Saudi stock market aimed at spreading awareness about the market and encouraging transparency in share dealings. It was attended by 1500 expert, financial analyst and investor.
Ziad al Bassam, deputy chairman of the Chamber’s board of directors said, “The symposium is being held at a time when the Saudi stock market is under scrutiny because of the recent fluctuations and changes which include, allowing foreign residents to invest in the market, dividing stocks and decreasing commissions.”
The symposium is the first to discuss the stock market in Saudi Arabia and its repercussions on investors, according to Faisal Sairafi, president of the symposium.
“We did not overlook the role of women and their role in the stock market. It will feature a discussion of what actions women need to follow in order to increase their gains.”
The Saudi stock market, the biggest in the region, was established in 1985. It captivated the nation’s imagination in 2005 as ordinary Saudis rushed to buy shares in the hope of making a quick fortune. Many saw their dreams shattered and lost all their savings as the Tadawul index crashed in March.