The board of the Union of Arab Securities Authorities approved in its fifteenth meeting, held remotely and hosted by the Securities and Commodities Authority - UAE on 05/25/2021, the Union's second strategic plan for the period 2021-2025 comes as a continuation of the efforts made by the Union during the past five years, through which the Union was able to accomplish a clear progress in achieving the goals of the first strategic plan 2016-2020. The current plan will present the most important achieved initiatives and goals to build on the accomplishments and support the goals and directions of the new strategic plan of the Union.
During the years of the first strategic plan 2016-2020, the Union achieved a number of strategic goals at various levels, especially those related to strengthening the position of the Union regionally and internationally and developing a general framework for cooperation and coordination among the Union members in various legislative, supervisory and professional aspects, knowledge transfer and others. In addition, a large set of common rules were accomplished and adopted by the members in different areas such as oversight, disclosure, governance, and others.
There is no doubt that the circumstances experienced by the global economies since the beginning of 2020 and the economic and financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic affected the priorities of governments, regulatory authorities and financial markets, and prompted precautionary steps to mitigate the Corona effects worldwide. Within this framework, it was important to take this aspect into consideration and allocate specific initiatives related to procedures and guidelines to deal with the risks and exceptional circumstances that Arab capital markets could pass through.
Any strategic plan set by the Union should reflect its basic objectives and as well as the objectives and concerns of its members. In order to capture the views of the Union members, the Interim Committee, formed by the UASA board to prepare the UASA strategic plan, decided in its first meeting to prepare a questionnaire so as to identify the main local and international challenges facing the Arab Capital Markets, define the role of the Union in dealing with these challenges, and the Union objectives for the next five years and the implementation Mechanisms of these objectives. The questionnaire also aimed at soliciting members’ views on the scope of the Union activities and their assessment of its performance. All the members of the Union responded to the questionnaire, and their views represented an important element in identifying the strategic priorities for the next period.
The responses to the questionnaire have shown that the majority of the regulators agree on the challenges that will face the Arab Capital Markets over the next five years, and the role of the Union in addressing these challenges. The main challenges are: (i) meeting the main requirements that would make members’ work in line with the principles, standards and best international practices;(ii) strengthening the regulatory and legislative capabilities; (iii) developing the capabilities of personnel; (iv) improving awareness and creating investor education programs; (v) training the staff on new regulatory skills; (vi) updating Capital Market legislations; and (vii) enforcing and monitoring compliance with corporate governance. These challenges also include improving cooperation with other regulators and supporting their efforts to join the International Organization of Securities Commissions IOSCO. In addition, the responses have shown other challenges related to technological and digital acceleration and, the importance of keeping up with financial technology developments, especially those related to regulatory aspects, as well as issues related to sustainability and financial stability.
In sum, the members of the Union have submitted a set of suggestions related to the objectives that the Union should consider as a top priority, and can be summarized as follows:
A. Dealing with developments in the financial technology sector
B. Combating Cybercrimes
C. Facing the low liquidity of financial markets for the issuance of new financial instruments
D. Keeping up with recent developments in the field of digitization, artificial intelligence and Crypto assets
E. Implementation of the international capital markets sustainability standards
F. Strengthening the role of regulators in the education, awareness and financial inclusion
G. Capacity building and upgrading of the professional level of the regulatory bodies The Main Pillars of the Strategic Plan
The committee formed to prepare the strategic plan for the years 2021-2025, when identifying the main pillars of the strategic plan 2016-2020, took into account the most important challenges and needs of the Arab Capital Markets and the factors affecting their performance, as well as the views of the Union members as expressed in their responses to the questionnaire. Based on the survey results and analysis, the strategic issues have been limited to five main pillars:
1. Strengthen cooperation, communication and harmony among the Union members
2. Cooperation in capital markets development, mitigating risks, and supporting liquidity and sustainability
3. Strengthen cooperation in financial technology and combatting cyber risks
4. Capacity Building
5. Investor education and awareness, and enhancing financial inclusion
The strategic plan for the years 2021 - 2025 is available in Arabic and English via the following links: