S&P Global Ratings has announced that it will open a branch in Riyadh, becoming the first international credit rating agency licensed to operate in Saudi Arabia.
S&P - which has had a presence in the Middle East since 2008 - obtained pre-approval for the expansion from Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) in October 2016.
“The CMA’s 2020 ambitious enabling program presents significant opportunities for the country and investors alike,” said John Berisford, President of S&P Global Ratings. “As the first international credit rating agency in the country, we are pleased to be able to facilitate access to capital for governments and companies and look forward to supporting the further development of transparent and liquid debt markets in the Kingdom.”
The Managing Director of S&P Global Ratings in Saudi Arabia is Meshari Al Khaled, who previously spent 11 years with the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and 10 years with ABN Amro/Alawwal Bank’s investment banking unit.
“As Saudi Arabia’s capital markets evolve to match the size of the country’s economy, there is a prime potential for greater debt issuance,” he said. “Only 15 percent of listed companies in Saudi Arabia have a credit rating so there is a significant opportunity for S&P Global Ratings to serve investors through our objective evaluation of risk for governments, corporates and financial institutions.”
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