CFA puts Saudi Arabia at the heart of Middle East expansion

THE CFA Institute is working to increase its membership community within the Middle East, with Saudi Arabia a key focus because the nation opens up its monetary markets and appears to diversify its funding business.

The non-profit academic organisation for chartered monetary analysts goals to double the variety of members within the kingdom to about 1,000 over the following three years, whereas additionally rising the pool of candidates by 20 per cent a yr, mentioned Marg Franklin, its president and chief government officer.

The nation has about 1,800 candidates planning to take a seat for CFA exams this yr.

The push comes as Saudi Arabia reforms its monetary system in an effort to advance the banking and insurance coverage industries, evolve its capital markets, and encourage extra startups.

In doing so, the dominion seeks to attract native employees into finance professions and lure extra international funding, a part of efforts to diversify its revenue streams away from oil.

“Most of this is really around trajectory and direction,” Franklin mentioned on the CFA Institute’s Middle East Investment Conference in Riyadh on Sunday (Feb 25).

“When you look at the last five years, the ambition is clear,” she mentioned. “It’s a young population and they know the most important levers that will help it to become a more diversified, resilient economy and much bigger global player.”

The CFA is contemplating providing added certifications in Arabic and is exploring methods to include extra coaching on Islamic finance, the place it’s seeing excessive demand, Franklin mentioned.

There is a singular alternative in Saudi Arabia because the nation goals to attract extra ladies into the workforce according to its Vision 2030 agenda, Franklin added.

“As they are beginning efforts to have a more inclusive workplace with regards to the type of talent and the inclusion of more women, we think there’s quite a bit we can do,” Franklin mentioned. 

Saudi Arabia at the moment has 520 CFA members, of whom about 12 per cent are feminine, mentioned Fahad Kordi, a CFA board member and head of investments and structured finance at Banque Saudi Fransi. That is up from 8 per cent in 2022. 

The feminine membership price was subsequent to nil earlier than the dominion undertook key initiatives in 2017 and 2018 to advertise ladies’s rights, together with permitting females to drive and open companies with out the consent of a male guardian. Khlood A Aldukheil, now CEO of Erteqa Financial Company, grew to become Saudi Arabia’s first feminine CFA member in 2003 and was the one native lady to carry the certification till 2015.

While the CFA declined to present particular go charges for its exams within the Middle East, about 44 per cent of world candidates had been profitable within the Level II check in November. Some 35 per cent handed Level I. Both charges are under the historic 10-year common.

The CFA societies of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain additionally on Sunday signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on skilled growth within the finance business. BLOOMBERG