Saudi Arabia May Open Stock Market to Foreigners Next Year

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, may allow foreigners to invest directly in stocks in the next year, said John Burbank, founder of $3.7 billion San Francisco-based hedge fund Passport Capital LLC.

“The place that we probably have by far the biggest weight relative to other people would be Saudi Arabia, which is our favorite emerging market,” Burbank said in an interview with Bloomberg Television Feb. 7. Passport has about 17 percent of its capital invested in the Arab world’s largest bourse. “We think the market’s going to open up in the next year.”

King Abdullah appointed a new president of the market regulator the Capital Market Authority (CMA) last week. Mohammed Al-Sheikh, the new CMA chief, is a Harvard law graduate who comes to the position from the World Bank.