The system, launched on 6 October, provides online information on the 78 companies listed on the Saudi Arabian stock market. It will introduce instantaneous real-time trading of equities and bonds in the first quarter of next year. Online services for trade in mutual funds are then expected to be introduced in the third quarter. Tadawul is also negotiating with several institutions, including Reutersand Bloomberg, to provide a live data feed of Saudi market prices.

Tadawul expects to be connected online to other GCC markets by the end of next year, allowing seamless trading of stocks across borders. Although Tadawul has the technology to route orders to and from other Gulf exchanges, the development of a regional stock market will depend on states such as Qatar adopting standard financial information exchange (FIX) technology, Al-Ayed said. The FIX protocol is a messaging standard adopted by Tadawul that enables immediate online transactions.

The next phase will also be dictated by a capital market law under review at the Majlis al-Shura (consultative council). The new legislation will establish a market regulator and introduce new brokerage bodies to handle foreign investment in the Saudi stock market (MEED 12:10:01).