Member: Saudi Exchange – Saudi Tadawul Group
Nominee’s name: Noelle S. Aljaweini
Nominee’s job title: Chief of Cash Markets
1. - Brief description of nominee’s role/job:
I am responsible for overseeing the executive leadership of the Cash Markets trading business at the Saudi Exchange. This includes overseeing the trading of listed equities, fixed income (government & corporate debt), exchange-traded funds (ETFs), REITs and closed-end funds (CEFs). My role is mainly focused on continuously developing the Exchange’s trading business through identifying new business opportunities and enhancing our existing products and service offerings to promote the Saudi Exchange as an attractive investment venue for all types of investors. I am also the chairperson of the Index Supervisory Committee which is responsible for overseeing the governance & administration of Saudi Exchange’s Indices.
2. - Short bio (career highlights, education, interests/hobbies):
I started my career after graduating from Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. I was always interested in solving problems and working with numbers and wanted to pursue a career that would provide a wide range of knowledge and exposure to different sectors and industries, while effectively building a solid foundation of business acumen.
I knew immediately that I wanted to start my career in management consulting given the broad spectrum of attainable skillset and spent a number of years working as a strategy consultant at PwC, where I advised a number of local and international clients across an array of industries considering making major investments or strategic changes in their businesses, such as IPO readiness and M&A transactions. I was specifically focused on corporate strategy, market entry strategy and market assessments as well as Commercial and Financial Due Diligence.
In 2015, I shifted from consultancy to practice and moved to the Saudi Exchange, as a chief analyst and project manager. From my experience as a consultant, I built knowledge around pre-implementation thinking, structure and having a bird’s eye view of the bigger picture; however, I made the shift to the financial sector because I wanted to be able to be on the ground, executing and directly contributing to a key sector’s growth.
I joined Tadawul at a very exciting time, when the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced the Vision 2030 roadmap, where the Exchange is at the forefront of contributing to the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP), one of the 12 key programs set to achieve Vision 2030’s objectives. Since joining Tadawul, it has been full speed ahead where I have been extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to lead several key changes contributing towards the development of the Saudi capital market. During my tenure at the Exchange, I have held multiple roles prior to my current role, including head of markets development, equity markets development manager and project manager for various strategic initiatives such as introducing REITs to the Saudi capital market, launching Nomu - a parallel alternative market for growth companies-, and establishing a framework for Closed-End Funds (CEFs). I also oversaw several other initiatives at the Exchange including enhancements aimed at paving the way for record time Emerging Markets Indices inclusion. One of my proudest moments at the Exchange was overseeing the Exchange’s readiness to trade the landmark listing of Saudi Aramco and formulating the Saudi Tadawul Group’s equity story for its own IPO.
In terms of personal interests, very simply, I am passionate about continuously striving to raise the bar and challenge the status quo. I am also a passionate advocate of giving back to the community and nurturing young Saudi talent through mentorship and coaching, where I regularly hold seminars and workshops in conjunction with local universities targeted towards students on the brink of entering the workforce. I am a member of the Finance Program Advisory Board at my alma mater, Prince Sultan University, where I provide advice aimed towards developing educational programs and curricula in line with market trends and needs, as well as supporting with research and industry insight.
3. - What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2021
Every year brings its unique set of challenges and I always like to believe that every challenge comes with opportunity. Having said that, 2021 was no different.
In April 2021, I was appointed as the chief of cash markets, tasked with managing and overseeing the cash markets trading business for the largest, most liquid Exchange in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. This gave me the opportunity to initiate and oversee multiple key strategic initiatives, but what stands out most are those related to developing the Saudi Exchange’s debt markets. My team and I have been heavily focused on this segment over the last few years, as it directly contributes to the national scale transformation program under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and is a key pillar of the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP). As a result of debt market development initiatives, our debt market size grew 20% in 2021 vs. the previous year. In 2021, the debt market was also included in FTSE’s Emerging Market Government Bond Index (EMBGI) and IHS Markit’s iBoxx Global Government Bond Index.
Additionally, in early 2021 we set an ambitious plan to list the Saudi Tadawul Group (STG) by the end of the year on our Main Market. From my experience in capital markets, I knew that being part of STG’s IPO journey would open new horizons and come with a set of exciting, and sometimes challenging, learning opportunities, especially whilst continuing to manage a very active trading business at the Exchange in parallel. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to play a role in this landmark milestone and participate in the success story of our IPO and see STG listed and traded alongside other listed companies on the Exchange.
Another highlight was being listed as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in Saudi Arabia by Arabian Business. It is extremely humbling and an absolute honour to be listed amongst the most prominent female leaders in the country, and only serves as a testament that regardless of your gender, you can make an impact.
4. - What and who inspires/has inspired you to achieve your professional success:
As a woman born, raised, and educated in Saudi Arabia, I found inspiration in a very simple concept – believing in the possibility of turning a vision into reality. Being on the ground and witnessing first-hand how massive development and transformation efforts are unfolding in such a short period of time on multiple fronts, be it in the financial sector or through women empowerment, is a source of inspiration itself.
Having the opportunity and the platform to contribute to this change and make an impact is truly what drives me.
5. - What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions:
Set a goal and pursue a career that you are truly passionate about, one that keeps you on your feet, motivates you, and continuously drives you to be better. Staying curious and regularly seeking feedback is extremely important. Actively building and maintaining a diverse and broad network across the spectrum will truly broaden your horizons and shed light on different perspectives. I have personally done this through having mentors and sponsors and it has proven to bring incredible value and have tremendous impact on both personal and professional growth. Have a strong sense of patience and perseverance, not only for yourself, but for other women as well. Ultimately, always seek to do better and be better through proactively contributing to your learning curve, no matter where you are in your career. Being a reliable, supportive team player and displaying high-work ethic goes a long way. Finally, always strive to be the best example for others and most importantly, remember why you started and never stop looking for inspiration.
The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.