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Industry Classification

Why are we introducing a new classification standard?

Saudi Exchange's earlier sector classification had been in place since 2008. However, with the continuous developments in the Saudi economy, new industries have emerged, both in private and public arena. These developments on the economic front also necessitate changes to be reflected in the classification of companies listed on the Saudi Exchange.

In the previous sector classification at Saudi Exchange, companies choosing to go public were assigned to sectors that were probably not accurately representing the business of these companies due to classification limitations. The new classification system adopted by Saudi Exchange provides solution to these limitations by closely aligning a company’s business activities and sources of revenues to its sector classification.

Saudi Exchange’s previous sector classification had limitations as it was not based on global classification standards. Furthermore, there were no periodic reviews of companies to reflect changes in the assigned classification due to any change in business profile of these companies.

Advantages of adopting the global classification standards

Global industry classification standard (GICS)

GICS is a common global classification standard used by thousands of market participants across all major groups involved in the investment process: asset managers, brokers (institutional and retail), consultants, researchers and stock exchanges.

GICS was developed jointly by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI), which are global and leading companies providing independent international financial data, indices and benchmark-related products and services.

The GICS structure is:

Universal: the standard applies to companies globally

Reliable: the structure correctly reflects the current state of industries in the equity investment universe

Flexible: the structure offers four levels of analysis, ranging from the most general sector to the most specialized sub-industry

Evolving: annual reviews are conducted by S&P Dow Jones Indices and MSCI to ensure that the structure remains fully representative of today’s global markets

GICS has been selected as a global industry classification standard to reclassify Saudi Exchange’s sectors. This move will enable Saudi Exchange to be comparable with other global equity markets. Moreover, this new globally recognized classification standard will encourage foreign and local investors to have better assessment of Saudi Exchange and would allow more meaningful comparisons with stocks and sectors across international equity markets.

GICS structure and methodology

GICS is a 4 tiered, hierarchical classification system, consisting of 11 Sectors (Level 1), 24 Industry Groups (Level 2), more than 60 Industries (Level 3) & more than 150 Sub-Industries (Level 4), as presented below.

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3 Level 4
Sector Industry Group Industry Sub-Industry
Energy Energy Energy Equipment & Services Oil & Gas Drilling
Oil & Gas Equipment & Services
Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels Integrated Oil & Gas
Oil & Gas Exploration & Production
Oil & Gas Refining & Marketing
Oil & Gas Storage & Transportation
Coal & Consumable Fuels
Materials Materials Chemicals Commodity Chemicals
Diversified Chemicals
Fertilizers & Agricultural Chemicals
Industrial Gases
Specialty Chemicals
Construction Materials Construction Materials
Containers & Packaging Metal & Glass Containers
Paper Packaging
Metals & Mining Aluminum
Diversified Metals & Mining
Precious Metals & Minerals
Paper & Forest Products Forest Products
Paper Products
Industrials Capital Goods Aerospace & Defense Aerospace & Defense
Building Products Building Products
Construction & Engineering Construction & Engineering
Electrical Equipment Electrical Components & Equipment
Heavy Electrical Equipment
Industrial Conglomerates Industrial Conglomerates
Machinery Construction Machinery & Heavy Trucks
Agricultural & Farm Machinery
Industrial Machinery
Trading Companies & Distributors Trading Companies & Distributors
Commercial & Professional Services Commercial Services & Supplies Commercial Printing
Environmental & Facilities Services
Office Services & Supplies
Diversified Support Services
Security & Alarm Services
Professional Services Human Resource & Employment Services
Research & Consulting Services
Transportation Air Freight & Logistics Air Freight & Logistics
Airlines Airlines
Marine Marine
Road & Rail Railroads
Transportation Infrastructure Airport Services
Highways & Rail tracks
Marine Ports & Services
Consumer Discretionary Automobiles & Components Auto Components Auto Parts & Equipments
Tires & Rubber
Automobiles Automobile Manufacturers
Motorcycle Manufacturers
Consumer Durables & Apparel Household Durables Consumer Electronics
Home Furnishings
Household Appliances
Housewares & Specialties
Leisure Products Leisure Products
Textiles, Apparel & Luxury Goods Apparel, Accessories & Luxury Goods
Footwear Textiles
Consumer Services Hotels, Restaurants & Leisure Hotels, Resorts & Cruise Lines
Leisure Facilities
Diversified Consumer Services Education Services
Specialized Consumer Services
Retailing Distributors Distributors
Internet & Direct Marketing Retail Internet & Direct Marketing Retail
Multiline Retail Department Storess
General Merchandise Stores
Specialty Retail Apparel Retail
Computer & Electronics Retail
Home Improvement Retail
Specialty Stores
Automotive Retail
Home furnishing Retail
Consumer Staples Food & Staples Retailing Food & Staples Retailing Drug Retail
Food Distributors
Food Retail
Hypermarkets & Super Centers
Food, Beverage Beverages Soft Drinks
Food Products Agricultural Products
Packaged Foods & Meats
Household & Personal Products Household Products Household Products
Personal Products Personal Products
Health Care Health Care Equipment & Services Health Care Equipment & Supplies Health Care Equipment
Health Care Supplies
Health Care Providers & Services Health Care Distributors
Health Care Services
Health Care Facilities
Managed Health Care
Health Care Technology Health Care Technology
Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences Biotechnology Biotechnology
Pharmaceuticals Pharmaceuticals
Life Sciences Tools & Services Life Sciences Tools & Services
Financials Banks Banks Diversified Banks
Regional Banks
Thrifts & Mortgage Finance Thrifts & Mortgage Finance
Diversified Financials Diversified Financial Services Other Diversified Financial Services
Multi-Sector Holdings
Specialized Finance
Consumer Finance Consumer Finance
Capital Markets Asset Management & Custody Banks
Investment Banking & Brokerage
Diversified Capital Markets
Financial Exchanges & Data
Mortgage Real Estate Investment (REITs) Mortgage REITs
Insurance Insurance Insurance Brokers
Life & Health Insurance
Multi-line Insurance
Property & Casualty Insurance
Information Technology Software & Services Internet Software & Services Internet Software & Services
IT Services IT Consulting & Other Services
Data Processing & Outsourced Services
Software Application Software
Systems Software
Home Entertainment Software
Technology Hardware & Equipment Communications Equipment Communications Equipment
Technology Hardware, Storage & Peripherals Technology Hardware, Storage & Peripherals
Electronic Equipment, Instruments & Components Electronic Equipment & Instruments
Electronic Components
Electronic Manufacturing Services
Technology Distributors
Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment Semiconductors & Semiconductor Equipment Semiconductor Equipment
Communication Services Telecommunication Services Diversified Telecommunication Services Alternative Carriers
Integrated Telecommunication Services
Wireless Telecommunication Services Wireless Telecommunication Services
Media and Entertainment Media Advertising
Cable & Satellite
Movies & Entertainment
Utilities Utilities Electric Utilities Electric Utilities
Gas Utilities Gas Utilities
Multi-Utilities Multi-Utilities
Water Utilities Water Utilities
Independent Power and Renewable Electricity Producers Independent Power Producers & Energy Traders
Renewable Electricity
Real Estate Real Estate Equity Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) Diversified REITs
Industrial REITs
Hotel & Resort REITs
Office REITs
Health Care REITs
Residential REITs
Retail REITs
Specialized REITs
Real Estate Management & Development Diversified Real Estate Activities
Real Estate Operating Companies
Real Estate Development
Real Estate Services

The GICS methodology aims to enhance the investment research and asset management process for financial professionals worldwide.

Companies are allocated to Sub-Industries. Sub-Industries are grouped into Industries in such a way that general industrial and economic themes are common to all companies in the Industry. The Industries themselves will be aggregated into Industry Groups, which are in turn aggregated into Sectors.

GICS classification approach is both quantitative and qualitative. Each company is classified in the Sub-Industry whose definition describes the main business activities that generate the majority of the company’s revenues.

The primary source of information used to classify a company is its Annual Reports/ Financial Statements. New companies are classified according to the activities mentioned in the prospectus.

New Saudi Exchange market structure

Saudi Exchange‘s listed equities were previously classified into 16 sectors; however, current Saudi Exchange’s market structure has 20 sectors (Industry Groups), representing Level 2 under GICS hierarchical classification system.

These 20 sectors (Industry Groups under GICS at Level 2), representing the distribution of current listed companies, are presented as follows:

1 Energy
2 Materials
3 Capital Goods
4 Commercial & Professional Svc
5 Transportation
6 Consumer Durables & Apparel
7 Consumer Services
8 Media and Entertainment
9 Retailing
10 Food & Staples Retailing
11 Food & Beverages
12 Health Care Equipment & Svc
13 Pharma, Biotech & Life Science
14 Banks
15 Diversified Financials
16 Insurance
17 Telecommunication Services
18 Utilities
19 REITs
20 Real Estate Mgmt & Dev't
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