x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

ADX to replace board before boss

The search for a new chief executive for the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) is on hold until a new slate of directors can be appointed, the company says.

The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange is overdue for a replacement of its board.
The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange is overdue for a replacement of its board.

The search for a new chief executive for the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) is on hold until a new slate of directors can be appointed, the company says. The seven-member board of directors at ADX is replaced every three years, and the term for the current board expired last month. It is not known how long it will take ADX to find a complete replacement board, but insiders hope the transition will be speedy.

Tom Healy, the ADX chief executive who resigned last month, has pledged to stay in his post until the new board is in place and a new chief executive has been chosen. Meanwhile, Rashed al Baloushi, the deputy chief executive and director of operations at the exchange, remains in place. Mr al Baloushi has been a strong player in the exchange, helping to promote new products such as exchange-traded funds. He has also promoted the development of corporate governance in the region.

Whoever is appointed in Mr Healy's place will be faced with numerous challenges such as low liquidity, a shrinking number of foreign investors and declining sentiment as the global economic downturn and the debt restructuring at Dubai World continue to weigh on the market. The exchange has also been mandated to modernise itself as part of Abu Dhabi's 2030 plan to develop the capital and its economy.

One of the principal elements of the 2030 plan relating to the ADX is for the exchange to complete an online trading system. The market is also involved in a programme to standardise its trading practices with markets and regulators from around the world. "The new initiatives by [the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority] signed with the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment, based in the UK, will have to be carried out by the local exchanges," said Rami Awwad, the senior business development manager at Al Awael Securities in Abu Dhabi.

"They will have the task of developing and introducing a structure that all brokers should follow." @Email:halsayegh@thenational.ae