- Minister of Finance: The program contributes to the development of the financial sector and enhances its effectiveness, in line with Vision 2030.
- SAMA Governor: The program seeks to build an advanced financial infrastructure, develop a thriving insurance sector and improve the capabilities and skills of our people.
- CMA Chairman: The program will place the Kingdom's financial market amongst the largest markets globally.
- CMA Deputy Chairman: An independent National Savings Entity will be created to offer government-backed retail savings products.
Riyadh – May 9, 2018:
The Council of Economic and Development Affairs (CEDA, has formally approved the Financial Sector Development Program, one of the 12 programs previously announced by CEDA to achieve Saudi Vision 2030.
Speaking at the Financial Sector Development Forum, held on Wednesday, May 9, 2018, H.E. Mohammed Al-Jadaan, the Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia, said, "The program supports the national economy by developing the financial sector and enhancing its effectiveness. The objective is to increase the financial sector's size relative to the GDP by 280%. The program will create a deep, diversified, digitized and stable financial sector capable of attracting financial technology companies and focusing on financial literacy to bring the savings rates in line with leading international rates."
The forum was attended by H.E. Dr. Ahmed Abdulkarim AlKholifey, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), H.E. Mr. Mohammed bin Abdullah El-Kuwaiz, Chairman of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA), H.E. Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Furaih, Vice-Governor of SAMA, and a large number of top executives, experts and specialists in the financial sector.
"The Financial Sector Development Program is built on three main pillars, firstly, 'enabling financial institutions to support the development of the private sector', secondly, 'ensuring the formation of an advanced capital market', and thirdly. 'promoting and enabling financial planning'. Under these three pillars, there are 42 initiatives that target financial sector institutions, the private sector, and individuals. Collectively, the initiatives will address the low coverage level of financial services, increase total size of financial assets to GDP ratio to 201% by 2020, boost financial coverage, foster the savings culture, create new jobs in the financial sector, as well as support the digital transformation of the financial sector," Al-Jadaan explained.
Speaking on the SAMA's initiatives under the program, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Abdulkarim AlKholifey, Governor of SAMA commented, "A complete and integrate set of initiatives have been created under the program's three main pillars, including a number of quick wins that can be achieved by the end of the current year 2018. SAMA's initiatives fall mainly under the first pillar of 'enabling financial institutions to support the development of the financial sector' and aim to enhance the depth and breadth of financing services, augmenting the development of infrastructure, and developing a thriving insurance sector to manage financial risks, as well as improving the capabilities and skills of our people."
"The program will significantly impact financial institutions, the private and individuals alike," AlKholifey added. "This will manifest itself in the form of greater transparency in the financial ecosystem, facilitation of loans given through financial institutions, increased share of SME financing by banks for its current level of 2% up to 5%, boosting mortgages in bank financing to 16%, enhancing the coverage of the insurance market and gross written premiums to 2.9% by 2020, and increasing the mandatory insurance rate for motor and health insurance to 75% and 45%, respectively, by 2020."
In his address, H.E. Mr. Mohammed bin Abdullah El-Kuwaiz, Chairman of CMA, noted, "Our aim through the Financial Sector Development Program is to place the Saudi financial market among the largest markets in the world by easing and enhancing the access for foreign investors to the local market, increasing the share of capital market assets. This will be achieved through a number of means, including enhancing the account opening process for foreign investors, establishing co-trading linkage with developed markets, expanding product offerings, increase the flexibility of managing risks and returns for the investors , and providing attractive investment opportunities. In doing so, we seek to deepen the capital markets which will lead to increase the liquidity of the financial market."
As for the third pillar, H.E. Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Furaih, Vice-Governor of SAMA, said, "'Promoting and enabling financial planning is aligned with the vision of the National Savings Strategy to increase the savings of Saudi households from 6% to 10% by 2030 by stimulating the demand and supply sides. The chief initiatives within this area include fostering the savings culture and creating an independent National Savings Entity that will provide government-backed retail savings products – such as savings Sukuk. This in turn will ignite competition for savings deposits with the private sector, while at the same time expanding the savings products currently on offer and boosting confidence and facilitating access to them. Furthermore, we will work on changing social attitudes and behavior towards savings by engraining this culture within the population through formal education curricula and awareness campaigns, with the aim of becoming among the worldwide leaders in financial literacy."
Al-Furaih went on to note that the Financial Sector Development Program will launch tailored government-backed high-return savings products that offer citizens over the long term, including securing an additional retirement income, affordable home ownership, and covering the education fees of their children.
Over 400 participants attended the event, including senior government officials, top executives from banks, financing, investment and insurance companies. The event, which featured an overview of the program and its initiatives presented by the key partner entities overseeing the program: the Ministry of Finance, SAMA, and the CMA, aimed to build a clear understanding of the program and enhance engagement and relationships with all target stakeholders to ensure its future success.