New sukuk rules promise market certainty in Oman

MuskatEfforts by the Omani authorities to strengthen regulations for bond instruments, especially sukuk, could help the market for fixed income investment in the country to grow. "The new rules under consideration for sukuk should provide considerably more certainty for the process and improve the prospects for companies to fund in the capital market," says Sadaf Buchanan, partner at law firm Dentons. Buchanan spoke at a conference in Oman organised by the Gulf Bond and Sukuk Association, which aims to promote fixed income issuance and investment in the region. "Led by the Oman government, more Oman based companies have taken advantage of bond/sukuk markets to extend their liability profiles and diversify their investor bases," said Michael Grifferty, president of the association, who also spoke at the event. Although Oman's capital markets are at a fairly early stage of development, market watchers see significant potential for equity and bond issuance to rise in future. Some suggest the low oil price could provide a spur to the bond markets by encouraging government-linked entities to issue debt to meet their spending obligations. ©2016 funds global mena

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