Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi, has been named “The Financial Centre of the Year (MENA)” by the prominent Global Investor/ISF publication. This award, presided by a prestigious independent panel of industry judges, has been presented at the 2016 MENA Capital Markets Summit & Awards held in Dubai on 26 October. The strong endorsement by the financial industry of ADGM within its first year of operation bears testament to its attractiveness and value proposition as an IFC.
The publication lauded ADGM for its progress, innovative approach and achievements as the world’s youngest financial centre. ADGM, as an integrated regulator across the banking, insurance and capital market sectors, practices a holistic approach to managing risks. The judging panel recognised ADGM’s efforts in adopting digital platform and services across all three authorities, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), the Registration Authority and the ADGM Courts. It noted that ADGM offers a comprehensive suite of innovative investment vehicles all within a one-stop shop environment for local and global entities to tap on the growth opportunities and doing business closer to home. ADGM’s focus on developing a conducive ecosystem to support the needs of stakeholders and embracing Fintech were also lauded.
H.E Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of ADGM said, “We would like to thank the leadership of the Abu Dhabi government, our industry partners and valuable stakeholders for their relentless support and trust in Abu Dhabi Global Market and what we aspire to achieve. More than 170 local and international companies have established themselves in ADGM, and we have already approved 13 financial services licence applications and is processing another 12 applications. This achievement is noteworthy given the backdrop of slow global economic growth, volatile market conditions and reduction of global footprint by financial institutions. For ADGM, the journey has just begun to support Abu Dhabi’s aspiration to become an international financial centre.”
“ADGM is an extension of Abu Dhabi’s strategic growth plans and we will continue to play a key role at the heart of the regional’s capital and financial markets by offering strategic and efficient access to growth opportunities in the UAE and beyond. We will keep planning ahead for the future of Abu Dhabi and maintain a sustainable ecosystem for ADGM firms,” added HE Ahmed Al Sayegh.
Mr Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer, FSRA of ADGM said, “It is an honour to receive the “Financial Centre of the Year” recognition in our first year of operation. This achievement is only possible with the vision of the Abu Dhabi leadership and support of Abu Dhabi Inc, the strong stewardship of ADGM Board under our inspirational Chairman H.E. Ahmed Al Sayegh and collective team effort to develop a best-in-class financial centre. We are committed to support evolving business needs and provide our licensed firms with the most conducive ecosystem and regulatory framework to support their aspirations and business expansion.”
Mr Teng commented, “The FSRA will continue to cement strategic partnerships to enable our financial institutions and companies to expand their global footprints via ADGM’s platform that is underpinned by high regulatory standards and global best practices. Firms and stakeholders can continue to rely on ADGM to help them navigate through the challenging environment of today and tomorrow and accelerate their business growth in Abu Dhabi and wider region.”
Preferred IFC for Financial Institutions
The FSRA has approved 13 financial services licences, comprising established regional and international financial firms, with another 12 applications being processed. In addition, 5 ADGM-domiciled funds have been established so far, registering one of the fastest pace of fund creation in the region - attributable to ADGM’s world-class fund registration and regulatory framework. The pipeline of interest from financial institutions and entities remains strong. This includes Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) investments, infrastructure assets, banking and funds.
Following the announcement of our FinTech initiative in March 2016, the FSRA has taken active steps to position ADGM as the MENA centre for financial innovation and also to ensure a progressive regulatory environment to cater for the establishment of FinTech players in the ADGM.
ADGM’s Regulatory Laboratory (Reglab) framework will be launched soon to support FinTech players and businesses in the MENA region. Apart from this initiative, the FSRA is actively collaborating with industry stakeholders including accelerators, co-working business centres, academic, financial and technological institutions, regulatory agencies, industry associations and the start-up community to develop the wider FinTech ecosystem.
International Standing and Cooperation
It has been one of ADGM’s key priorities to establish close cooperation among regional and global regulators to facilitate cross-border financial activities, as well as, uphold the integrity of capital markets.
Within the UAE, ADGM has formed close partnerships with vital local Federal authorities such as the Central Bank of the UAE, Ministry of Finance, Securities and Commodities Authority, the Insurance Authority, Abu Dhabi Securities Market, to name a few. In addition, The FSRA has made significant progress in its international standing and credibility through regulatory and cooperation Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with global counterparts in the Middle East region, China, India, South Africa, Europe and many others.
FSRA is now a member of key international organisations such as the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the Basel Consultative Group (BCG) of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (“BCBS”) and in the process of joining other key finance fora.
Meeting the Needs of Stakeholders
As the newest international financial centre, ADGM has successfully achieving international tractions and establishing itself as an innovative, trusted and well-regulated jurisdiction serving the evolving needs of the local and global industry.