MANAMA: Bahrain Bourse has emerged as the 2nd best performing market in the GCC, thanks to the strong economic fundamentals which helped in sustaining the growth levels even during the record low oil prices.
“Bahrain Bourse’s strategic progression and achievements over the course of 2017 was exceptional on many fronts, with a performance ranking 2nd among GCC stock exchanges, and 4th in the MENA region,” Shaikh Khalifa bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa Bahrain Bourse’s Chief Executive Officer told the Press conference on Wednesday.
Shaikh Khalifa, was joined by Abdulkareem Bucheery, Chairman Bahrain Bourse said that there had been a progress on various fronts in 2017.
“We had taken major initiatives including innovation-led technologies to enhance liquidity and depth of the market in a way that will leverage its competitiveness to attract local, regional, and international investors.”
“The developments achieved by Bahrain Bourse in 2017 is a positive step in the advancement of the capital markets sector as a whole, and reflects Bahrain Bourse’s strategic positioning that positively enhances the development of the capital markets sector and bolsters the economy of the Kingdom of Bahrain,” Bahrain Bourse’s Chairman Abdulkareem Bucheery, said.
During the year, Bahrain Bourse recorded high trading activity in terms of the value and volume of shares traded at Bahrain Bourse, launched unique and innovative products and services, and bolstered its strategic tie-up with key partners.
Bahrain Bourse achieved major advancement on a number of operational fronts including: listing of the first REIT (Eskan Bank REIT), operationally launched Bahrain Investment Market and authorization of four Sponsors on the Market including Keypoint, KPMG, BDO, SICO and strategic partnership tie-up with Tamkeen to fund growth companies interested to list on the market.
In terms of operational budgets, and in the spirit of reducing overhead costs, the Bourse was able to reduce General & Administrative costs without any impact on the Bourse’s main operations.
Other achievements include the inauguration of Bahrain Clear as a subsidiary of Bahrain Bourse with an authorised capital of BD 5 million and paid-up capital of BD1 million to operate as a fully-fledged clearing house for the region, launched Bahrain Trade an online trading platform powered by licensed brokers with KHCB joining as the first participating bank.
During the year two bonds/sukuk were listed bringing the total up to 13 with a total value of US$ 6.084 billion, and 41 listed T-bills with a total value of BD 2.6 billion. All of these initiatives highlight the strength and diversity of Bahrain Bourse’s capabilities, it also reiterates the Bahrain Bourse’s deeper involvement in developing a cohesive capital market ecosystem.
On the regulatory front, Bahrain Bourse achieved two key milestones, obtaining approval from the Central Bank of Bahrain on the Market Making Rules. This regulatory advancement has enabled Bahrain Bourse to license Mubasher to commence their market making services to their respective clients. On the technological front, Bahrain Bourse’s trading platform has undergone a major upgrade of its X-stream trading system to meet the needs of capital market participants in general, and the investors in particular. In addition, Bahrain Bourse’s e-services have been launched on Bahrain eGovernment portal to all investors and stakeholders, allowing registered investors to view their investment portfolios and details of their securities’ transactions in a timely and easy manner.
In terms of its corporate social responsibility initiatives, Bahrain Bourse recently kicked-off its 20th year of the Tradequest program for schools that aim at raising investment awareness among high school and university students. Over the years, Bahrain Bourse has trained under the TradeQuest program more than 1,300 students across 18 schools and 5 universities covering both private and government educational institutions across the Kingdom. In addition, Bahrain Bourse in collaboration with Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) officially launched “The Investment Academy” that aims at offering technical market know-how targeted towards beginner, intermediate, and professional investors to enhance their capital markets knowledge with innovative teaching methods and technologies. The Academy also offers public awareness sessions, professional certifications as well as key trending topics in capital markets.
Bahrain Bourse has also signed a cooperation agreement with the Ministry of Education that aims at enhancing joint cooperation between Bahrain Bourse and the Ministry of Education in areas related to spreading investment awareness among students such as the launch of a new initiative called the Smart Investor Program. The Smart Investor is an awareness program targeted towards elementary and secondary school students with the objective of introducing the concept of saving & investment among students by using various tools to emphasize the importance of the concept to them as individuals, their families, and their country in a very simple module that suits their respective age group.