Energy transition not just confined to climate change, says Aramco official 

Energy transition not just confined to climate change, says Aramco official 
Energy transition not just confined to climate change, says Aramco official 

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s financial market is seeing new entries that were not present six years ago, including schools and hospitals, according to a Tadawul Group official.

The Saudi Capital Market Forum, held in Riyadh, has demonstrated its significance on the global financial stage, with Nayef Al-Athel, group chief of sales and marketing officer at Tadawul Group, affirming its importance in an interview with Arab News.

Emphasizing market diversification, Al-Athel said: “What I think is beautiful is whatever you see coming into the market is of sectors that are away from what the market is focused on today.” 

Al-Athel added: “If you look at the market, there are companies that are unlocking sectors that have never been part of the market before. Example, we’ve seen an e-commerce business come to the market, we’ve seen schools, we’ve seen hospitals, these companies five, six years ago were not part of the market.”

Reflecting on Tadawul Group’s accomplishments, Al-Athel emphasized its role as an “equity capital markets powerhouse,” with a prolific track record of over 150 listings in the past five years.

When discussing the forum, he described it as “one of, if not the largest financial forum in the world.” 

He added: “We had in totality more than 15,000 people that wanted to attend this conference. We couldn’t accommodate for all of them, unfortunately.”

Al-Athel went on to explain: “We accommodated 4,500, which was a stretch in comparison to last year. But what is more impressive is that we’ve managed to organize more than 4,200 meetings between corporates and investors. There are 75 meeting rooms that are fully occupied from 8 a.m. in the morning till 8 p.m. at night conducting these bilateral meetings between investors and corporates.”

In a significant development, the top executive unveiled CMF Connect during a fireside chat, with its inaugural session slated for Hong Kong. Al-Athel elaborated on the expansion plans, highlighting the forum’s evolution into an international platform transcending geographical confines.

He said: “The ambition for that conference to happen in Hong Kong and to happen in other cities as well. So, we’ll continue to expand our wings. It’s very noticeable that the international leg of the conference doesn’t have the word Saudi.”

Al-Athel added: “We’ve built a brand for it to stand out as a standalone capital market forum that can execute its initiatives, strategies anywhere it goes.”

Emphasizing the word “connect,” he explained that it resembles the connection that “will continue to happen between Saudi corporate, Saudi investors and the international society of financial firms, international issuers, and international investors.”

Al-Athel also shed light on the burgeoning debt capital markets, which are vital for financing future projects. With government sukuk listings setting the stage, corporate issuances are gaining momentum, hinting at a promising future for DCM transactions.

“The importance of DCM or the debt capital markets. There’s no way for us as a country to finance our potential, finance our future projects without a very solid DCM market,” he insisted.

Amid these advancements, Al-Athel acknowledged the symbiotic relationship between market performance and broader economic trends, buoyed by Saudi Arabia’s transformative Vision 2030.

“We are quite uniquely lucky because everything that happens in the country, from transformation and tourism, entertainment, it all spills over into the market because the market in the end of the day is a reflection or a mirror of the economy, and all the excitement that comes with Saudi holistically is being dragged into the market,” he said.

Beyond finance, Al-Athel shared insights into the group’s strategic pivot toward sustainability, citing a new agreement: “We want to build our brand around sustainability and being green, and there’s nothing that serves the purpose of being green, but actually planting trees.”

He explained: “The MoU is pretty straightforward, with every listing in the main market, we’re going to plant 50 trees. With every listing in Nomu, we will plant 25 trees. With every member that joins the exchange, whether a derivatives member, a clearing member, a custodian, a brokerage member, we will plant 50 trees. With each and every conference, 30 trees will be planted.”

Al-Athel highlighted there’s a plot of land on the outskirts of Riyadh where the trees will be planted, creating a green plot in two to three years, which he called the “Tadawul oasis.”

He also emphasized an upcoming initiative that involves establishing a digital art lab, empowering Saudi youth to showcase their creativity globally.

He said: “We want to pivot ourselves around themes and the theme of art is a theme that excites us and a theme that is very much starting up in the country still in its very I would say its in a nuance in the country. And we want to build the name of the Saudi Tadawul Group around arts and more specifically around digital art.”

An MoU has been signed to help build the lab to assist young Saudis in creating digital art that will be displayed at the group’s future conferences.

“We believe pivoting the name of the Saudis Tadawul Group around art will be very beneficial for the way our brand evolves,” Al-Athel commented.

As the Saudi Capital Market Forum continues to evolve and expand its global footprint, its role as a nexus for financial innovation and collaboration remains unassailable, embodying Saudi Arabia’s ascendance as a financial powerhouse on the world stage.

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