The launch of the Bahrain Financial Exchange (BFX), the first multi-asset class exchange in the Middle East region to allow trading in derivatives and Shariah-compliant securities, has been postponed to October this year. It has been scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2010.

“As a result of consultation with the market, the launch has been rescheduled to October primarily so that the BFX can have a clear run of trading activity without having possible liquidity drops during the summer months,” Arshad Khan, managing director and chief executive of BFX, told MEED on 15 April.

“The BFX is ready for go-live now but if we were to launch now, we would most definitely see a drop in the summer months as well as the holy month of Ramadan and Eid.”

The exchange announced on 13 April that it is in the final stages of internal testing and audit work, and that its business development teams have been engaging with the market to build up a solid base of membership across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region with which to go live.

“The BFX has been working in the region for the past 12 months meeting with more than 250 institutions to introduce the multi-asset product group and to understand what the market requires from this type of exchange license,” says Khan.

“The BFX products are a direct result of initial market testing and requirements gathering, part of which was with the Mena brokerage community. So in effect some of these products have been developed with this market segment in mind.”

The exchange will be internationally accessible to trade cash instruments, structured products, derivatives and Shariah-compliant financial instruments.

Bahrain currently has one stock exchange with 40 companies listed.