Kuwait’s National Assembly (parliament) has voted in favour of establishing a regulator for the Kuwait Stock Exchange, a step towards the creation of the first capital markets regulator in the country.

The law to establish a regulator was passed unanimously on 20 January. Under the terms of the bill, an independent five-member authority will be established to monitor the local bourse.

The bill aims to create a regulator to ensure trading on the stock market is “fair, competent, competitive and transparent”. The authority will also deal with merger and acquisition activity, investment funds and the protection of small investors.

A second voting round on the bill is due by early February.

Kuwait is the only member of the GCC that does not have an independent stock market regulator. In 2009, the Kuwait stock market was one of the worst performing in the region, falling in value by more than 5.5 per cent.

Since its foundation in the 1962, the Kuwait Stock Exchange has been run by a government-appointed administrative body.