Saudi Arabia’s stock market is set to open up to direct investment by foreign financial institutions in the first half of 2015.
It is one of the most eagerly awaited reforms in the world’s biggest oil exporter.
Authorities in Riyadh hope the changes will lead to the creation of jobs, help diversify the economy beyond oil and expose local companies to more market discipline.
Capitalised at 530 billion dollars or around 393 billion euros the Saudi stock market is the biggest in the Arab world.
Foreign investors are estimated to own about 15 percent of other smaller stock markets in the Gulf.
If foreigners raise the level in Saudi Arabia to a similar percentage it could mean an inflow of around 37 billion euros into the country.
Riyadh has delayed implementing the reform over what is believed to be concerns that it could cause volatility in the markets and political sensitivity issues related to foreigners being allowed to build large stakes in Saudi businesses.