Globally, individual investors and investor associations have been actively liaising with companies to communicate to them their expectations and any potential disagreements, this practice has so far not taken root in the MENA region. With the regulatory bar being set increasingly higher and with the growing capacity of securities regulators, listed companies in the region often view governance requirements strictly through the compliance prism. This presents a significant challenge for regulators and stock exchanges who wish to see more profound governance changes in reflected in the culture of the organisations they supervise.

Meaningful shareholder engagement is the answer to this culture shift and to many other challenges facing Arab capital markets today. To facilitate such shareholder engagement in the MENA region, the OECD (, after consultations with investors and other market participants, has decided to launch a new initiative: the MENA Investor Council. This initiative aims to gather large family, sovereign and institutional investors in MENA capital markets with a view to facilitate dialogue on investment practices and policy priorities for the future development of stock exchanges in the region.