The UAE has floated an initiative aimed at integrating the securities markets of all GCC member states.
The initiative, which will see the markets operating under the same policies, was outlined in the statement of Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, during the first Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of Chairmen of GCC Regulators Board, held in Riyadh.
The meeting was held at the invitation of GCC Secretary General, Abdul Rahman Al Atiyya.
Mansouri, who is also the Board Chairman of the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (Esca), called for concerted efforts and better co-ordination among the member states to overcome the repercussions of the global credit crunch.
"The current situation demands from us better co-ordination, a united front and launch of innovative initiatives. We are in a situation in which we need more actions than words," Al Mansouri stated in his address, read on his behalf by Abdullah Al Turifi, CEO of Esca.
Member countries at the meeting agreed to send the GCC Ministerial Council a recommendation for the setting up of a permanent technical committee.
Al Turifi said that the strategy had received great applause from the GCC Secretariat and all member states, which saw the Esca initiative as a roadmap towards achieving integration of GCC securities.
The initiative covers issues that need instant action and issues that can be dealt with in stages. The issues that require instant action include unification of licensing, subscription and listing procedures for public joint stock companies (PJSCs) of member states, in a process to be known as the 'Unified Gulf Licence' procedure – a PJSC set up in any member state shall acquire this licence. Other urgent matters are the issuing of unified Initial Public Offering regulations and procedures, co-ordination of the timings of IPOs and their procedures in all GCC states and a common text for co-operation and partnership agreements between brokerage and financial services.
Issues that can be dealt with in stages include updating of guidance regulations; restructuring that takes into consideration the transformation of GCC securities markets into listed holding companies; and a common text for listing conditions and requirements.
The initiative in a Nutshell
The UAE initiative includes a permanent committee consisting of CEOs of the regulatory bodies of GCC member states, or those of equivalent status. The committee, which shall have to meet at least three times in a year, will discuss issues and proposals referred to it by member countries. It shall also come up with draft laws, policies and guidance for the GCC securities markets and their regulators, look into technical proposals for developing the securities markets and convey its recommendations to the ministerial committee for action.