x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

No rush on Abu Dhabi financial free zone timeline

Abu Dhabi Global Market will agree its strategy and direction after talks with local and international stakeholders over the next eight weeks, says its chairman.

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)will map out the implementation of its strategy after talks with local and foreign stakeholders over the next eight weeks, says its chairman.

But Ahmed Ali Mohamed Al Sayegh said yesterday there was no fixed timeline for the formation of the financial free zone.

“The timeline will not be dictated by specific dates but rather a deliberate approach which will include within the next eight weeks a process for coordination and collaboration with local and international stakeholders on strategy and direction,” Mr Al Sayegh said without specifying which stakeholders would be involved in the talks.

A government decree was announced in February to establish the zone, where Abu Dhabi hopes to attract leading financial services companies to conduct business.

“Hosting the Abu Dhabi Global Market in Al Maryah Island is a natural next step in our role as a dependable and responsible participant in the global financial community,” said Mr Al Sayegh.

“[It] aims to promote the emirate as a leading market for financial services and activity across the world, and in doing so further strengthening the profile and position of the UAE within the financial sector.”

He said work was under way to form the zone’s three regulatory pillars: the Registration Bureau, the Financial Services Regulations Bureau, and the Courts.

ADGM will focus on business areas including commodities trading, storage and transport, derivatives trading, settlement clearing and depositary services, as well as foreign exchange and wealth management.

Officials have often stressed that ADGM will differ from Dubai International Financial Centre’s area of focus.

Alex Thursby, the group chief executive of National Bank of Abu Dhabi, said yesterday that ADGM and DIFC would complement each other.

“Abu Dhabi and Dubai both have a role,” Mr Thursby said. “It’s a bit like Hong Kong and Singapore. They have lived together alongside each other but have just positioned themselves differently.

“Hong Kong is a debt capital market, it used to be the foreign exchange centre, that’s now moved to Singapore.”

In addition to finance, ADGM is intended to stimulate a wider bustling business and residential district, eventually employing as many as 75,000 people and accommodating tens of thousands of residents.

Mr Al Sayegh said ADGM’s role as an important centre for employment aside, it would help to educate and train young UAE nationals.

“We will create meaningful opportunities for nationals,” he said.

“It will also be a place for education and training, where young people can learn best practices and eager university graduates can build their network and contacts.”

tarnold@thenational.ae