2020: A year to remember
As 2020 draws to a close, there are quite interesting observations to highlight. This year has vividly shown us different characteristics of Saudi society. We have seen people’s discipline in implementing COVID-19 alerts and instructions by various government agencies during lockdowns. We have also witnessed seamless coordination between government agencies in issuing and executing regulations to control the pandemic.
Most importantly, we have observed the successful management and conclusion of the G20 leadership summits in Saudi Arabia in March and November, with many ministerial, business and civil society meetings in between.
The Kingdom was the first G20 member to initiate stimulus packages for the private sector, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Billions of dollars have been committed and paid to support companies that have been negatively impacted by the lockdowns.
This year positively impacted local tourism due to bans on foreign travel. This has led the Ministry of Tourism to implement several initiatives to enhance and support local tourism.
Positives were also felt by us at BMG Financial Group. Many family business owners approached us for potential listings on the Nomu market for expansion and/or monetizing their shares. Consolidation was another trend as companies initiated merger and acquisition plans. The insurance sector had the lion’s share of these consolidations.
We also won multiple international private offerings mandates. In the 15 years of BMG Financial Group’s history, this is the first time we have signed mandates without meeting our international clients in person. In the past few months, we have been actively involved in virtual fundraising roadshows with local, regional and global private equity firms.
During the pandemic, technology has further disrupted almost every sector, including retail, food, healthcare and financial services. Consumer purchasing behavior is changing. As a result, opportunities are emerging in the financial technology (fintech) ecosystem for traditional financial institutions and entrepreneurs.
We are entering a new year that will have another set of challenges. But challenges bring opportunities. I am confident that 2021 will offer new opportunities in tourism, pharma, insurance, food and fintech, among others, for local and international investors. I wish everyone a healthy, prosperous and happy new year.
• Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.