Egypt's stock exchange has granted Beltone Financial (BTFH.CA) the country's first licence for exchange traded funds (ETF), the bourse's head Mohamed Omran said on Monday, adding that trading could start within six weeks.
Egypt, whose economy has been battered by more than three years of political and economic turmoil, is trying to attract capital back into the country and restore investor confidence.
"The infrastructure and the regulations relating to the index funds are ready for work and within six weeks we can see trading of index funds papers on the bourse," Omran said.
Beltone Financial was the first company to express interest in ETFs, which are listed investment funds, and is launching a fund called XT-Misr that mirrors the performance of the country's EGX 30 stock index.
Beltone's chairman Aladdin Saba declined to reveal the size of the fund but said Beltone would participate in it with 10 million Egyptian pounds ($1.43 million). The firm is allowed to increase this by 50 times, depending on the demand for the fund, he added.
Egypt's financial market regulator last month released the rules to facilitate the creation of index and real estate funds as well as amendments to margin trading rules in an attempt to increase liquidity in the market and draw more local and foreign investors.
Much of the activity in Egypt's capital markets froze up during the political instability which followed the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Egypt's last initial public offering of shares was in November 2010.
The weakness of the stock market has deprived companies of a source of funds, pressured balance sheets and hurt business confidence. Many foreign portfolio managers have pulled money out of the Egyptian market.