The financial free zone of the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), has announced that they are “open for business” and are currently accepting applications from potential member firms.
Chairman of ADGM, Ahmed Al Sayegh, was among those who oversaw the 2 ½ years of preparation for its launch. “Today marks an important achievement in our journey to develop ADGM, an international financial centre in the heart of the capital of the UAE, a centre of wealth and a gateway to the growing economies of the region and beyond,” he said. “We have been steadfast in our strategy of building a centre based on collaboration and input from local, regional and international institutions to ensure that we offer a jurisdiction that provides businesses with what they need and want in order to grow and succeed.”
The announcement was made after they published the rules and regulations governing ADGM. A consultation was made with some of the major players in the regional and global finance before the launch.
Firms and individuals may now apply for financial services licenses under a legislative and regulatory framework that is internationally recognizable. According to ADGM, these frameworks facilitate their expansion in the local, regional, and international scene.
Although ADGM’s announcement was regarded as an important operational milestone, an executive warned that the application for membership to financial firms may take several months. In fact, the first members may start to be fully operational in the ADGM headquarters by the first quarter of 2016.
“Over the next few weeks and months, we will continue to closely engage financial institutions to help them understand or regulations and assist them with the application process. As an international financial centre, we are dedicated to forging long term and mutually beneficial partnerships with like-minded members and market participants,” says Richard Teng, the chief executive of ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority.
ADGM is a key element to the long term strategy for Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification as what is set out in their Economic Vision for 2030. They plan to initially focus on private banking, as well as wealth and asset management. It is designed to accommodate a wide variety of financial services.
The Swiss Bank and Credit Suisse have recently reported an increasing number of millionaires in the UAE and Saudi Arabia for the next 5 years, despite the decreasing oil prices. Private banking and wealth management are considered to be flourishing in the global financial industry, particularly in the Middle East.
Mr. Al Sayegh said that they are still continuing to develop ADGM. They are currently in the market consultation phase.
“We have established ADGM with an initial core focus based on Abu Dhabi’s strength of wealth management, asset management and private banking. However, we have the flexibility to grow into a broad based centre, attracting a wide spectrum of financial institutions who will choose ADGM as their home. This will cement ADGM’s global position and ensure we contribute to the global ecosystem of international markets and business networks,” he added.
A number of regional and international banks are said to be weighing their options for the ADGM membership.