The Sultanate of Oman, represented by the Capital Market Authority hosted on Wednesday May 11, 2022 the sixteenth annual meeting of the Union of Arab Securities Authorities (UASA) with the participation of the representatives of the member countries in the UASA’s Council.
The meeting was held within the context of the efforts exerted by the member states to enhance ways of cooperation to raise the legislative and regulatory level of the Arab securities markets in a manner that achieves fairness, efficiency and transparency, and to work to unify efforts to reach effective levels of oversight over the transactions in the markets, as well as discussing a mechanism for facing the challenges, changes and developments on the regional and international arena.
The opening session began with a speech by the Executive President of the Capital Market Authority, His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Al Salmi, and a speech by the UASA’s presidency for the fifteenth session given by Dr. Maryam Al Suwaidi, Executive President of the Securities and Commodities Authority of the United Arab Emirates, and the General Secretariat’s speech by Jalil Tarif, Secretary-General of the UASA. His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Al Salmi, Executive President of the Capital Market Authority, assumed the presidency of the UASA for the sixteenth session.
The Council discussed the annual report for the year 2021 and the most important achievements that were achieved during the first year of the strategic plan 2021-2025, especially with regard to completing the work related to the multilateral memorandum of understanding for the exchange of information among the member states of the Union, in light of the Council’s decision to approve the text of the final memorandum, and to complete Signing the memorandum by the members of the Union, the Council decided to proceed with the procedures for duly enforcing the memorandum as of May 11, 2022. The Council also reviewed the report of the auditors and the final audited accounts of the Union for the financial year 2021 and decided to ratify them in accordance with the provisions of Clause Seven of Article (11) of the articles of association of the Union.
Dr. Maryam Al Suwaidi, President of the Union for the fifteenth session, said that the year 2021 witnessed important developments and events that were reflected in the performance of global financial markets, which were affected by the continuing repercussions of the crisis resulting from the outbreak of the Corona virus. Despite the negative effects that the pandemic has had on the global economies, especially the developed economies in which public debt rates have recorded unprecedented hikes, the global financial markets were able to continue achieving positive growth rates in 2021, as the MSCI World Index showed a record growth for the third year in a row, at a rate of about 17%. She added that the Arab supervisory authorities were able during the year 2021, in cooperation with the financial markets and governments, to work to overcome the impact of the aftermath of the Corona crisis on the financial markets. It also continued to make important achievements in the areas of regulation, updating legislation, regulation and enforcement, setting appropriate frameworks and mechanisms to enhance its supervisory capabilities, and developing rules for transparency, disclosure, governance, education and awareness, in order to ensure the stability and balance of the financial markets.
The Secretary General of the Union, Mr. Jalil Tarif, said that the Union was able during the year 2021 to enhance its position in the regional and international organizations and institutions, as the members of the Union won three seats on the Board of Directors of the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), including the position of the Vice Chairman of the Board and the Chairman of the Growth and Emerging Markets Committee, as well as chairing the Regional Committee for Africa and the Middle East. The Union was also able to enhance its role in building the self-capacities of the members, through the implementation of more than 40 specialized training programs in which about 1935 employees participated, as well as a number of workshops, seminars and forums in various fields of interest to the Union’s members.
The annual report indicates that the General Secretariat, within the framework of strengthening cooperation among the members of the Union in the field of developing the capital markets and facing risks, in cooperation with the work team formed for this purpose, has prepared a special survey that covered various aspects related to the development of Arab capital markets, and it was distributed to the members of the Union and the responses were received and analyzed in preparation to complete the work on this aspect. It is important to note here that the work team is at the current stage collecting the initiatives and legislations applied by the members of the union on the ways to confront market risks and enhancing liquidity, in preparation for the development of guidelines on the priorities of the members to assess and confront the challenges caused by global crises in their various forms. The working group is also working on setting general guiding rules related to combating money laundering and terrorist financing, as well as setting general rules related to the best standards applied in the field of sustainability. In addition, the task force is working on submitting proposals for crowdfunding guidelines.
On the issue of financial technology and cyber risks, the working team formed for this purpose completed the analysis of the results of the questionnaire that had been prepared and distributed to the members of the Union. The questionnaire provided important information about the reality of the financial technology sector among the members of the Union. Within this framework, the work team compiles legislation and legal or regulatory frameworks related to financial technology and cyber security applied in order to provide them to the members of the union in the areas of artificial intelligence and digital learning, as well as setting general guiding rules (directives) to enhance cyber security for the members of the Union. The work team is also preparing proposals for defining the regulatory procedures and requirements related to Know Your Customer (KYC) in preparation for preparing a guide for this.
The annual report of the Union also showed that the global markets continued during 2021 to recover from the effects caused by the outbreak of the Corona virus COVID-19, which led to the decline of financial markets to low levels not seen in decades. Despite this, unprecedented financial support programs and access to effective vaccines to confront the virus were able to help the financial markets return to the upturn and achieve record growth rates that exceeded the levels they had reached before the outbreak of the Corona virus. The year 2021 witnessed a clear growth that was remarkably reflected in the indicators of global markets, as the data issued by the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) indicate that the international financial markets have achieved significant increases in the total market value of the global financial markets, reaching $ 124.6 trillion, compared to $ 106.8 trillion in 2020, an increase of 16.7%. The American markets accounted for 46.1% of the total global market value, followed by the Asian and Pacific markets with 31.6%, and the European and Middle Eastern markets with 22.3%.
As for the Arab financial markets, the market value of these markets increased at the end of 2021 compared to its level achieved in 2020, reaching about $3.6 trillion, an increase of 16.1%. The market value of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) constituted about 73% of the total the market value of the Arab financial markets as a whole, which amounted to $ 2.5 trillion at the end of 2021.
A memorandum of understanding was signed, on the sidelines of the meeting, between the Union of Arab Securities Authorities and the Regional Center for Sustainable Finance of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, with the aim of enhancing cooperation in the areas of self-capacity building related to sustainability and financial instruments of the green economy and governance, as well as the exchange of technical expertise and assistance in the areas of sustainable finance and the design and implementation of professional training programs in the areas of sustainable development and finance.