Interview: Ahmed Al Sayegh
How will ADGM build on its strong base for wealth management and institutional investment to generate additional prosperity?
AHMED AL SAYEGH: Abu Dhabi in many ways represents a blueprint for emerging economies across the region and around the world to leverage their natural resources as a tool for sustainable economic transformation and global competitiveness. Abu Dhabi has a very substantial portfolio of assets managed worldwide, and looks to follow the global trend of managing its assets closer to home. To cater to this need ADGM offers global and local institutions an internationally recognised financial centre and stable platform to access and service the wealth of the GCC region and in the growing economies of India, Africa and Central Asia, all of which are within a day’s flight from Abu Dhabi. In the coming few years ADGM will be focused on increasing its pool of member institutions, attracting both the buy side and sell side of the financial world. Institutions that set up their presence in ADGM will bring along their businesses and generate greater employment opportunities and needs. In turn these employees will bring along their families. This increase in the human capital pool will contribute to the development of our various industries and nurture the next generation of financial professionals in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Can you expand on the importance of cooperation with other international financial centres and financial institutions?
AL SAYEGH: Our recognition as a financial centre reflects the success of the institutions that set up in our centre and their ability to do real business and achieve their growth potential. It is important to remember that ADGM is neither a market participant nor a real estate owner or developer, and therefore our success relies on our ability to deliver an environment that financial institutions want to be a part of. This is why we have invested substantial time and effort in engaging key stakeholders and market participants over the past two years while preparing for the launch of ADGM. We worked with, and consulted, more than 200 institutions globally. We also had an expert panel of more than 25 of the world’s leading financial institutions who advised and guided ADGM during the course of drafting the legislation and regulations. We did this before we sought feedback and comments from industry stakeholders and the public in our open market consultation. We are committed to continuing our collaborations as we grow ADGM and develop it into a international financial centre.
Why has ADGM placed particular emphasis on close cooperation with local government?
AL SAYEGH: ADGM is part of the fabric of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. We were established to support the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision and as one of its strategic pillars, to further grow the financial sector in the region. For any entity joining ADGM there are a multitude of services and requirements, from financial and non-financial regulatory requirements to other key matters that need to be coordinated and delivered in a seamless and business-friendly manner. All these contribute towards the success of any financial centre. At the same time, ADGM recognises and appreciates the fundamental role that local government plays in the success of ADGM and the realisation of Abu Dhabi’s vision for developing a truly global financial sector.
Therefore, one of the first memoranda of understanding (MOU) ADGM signed when it was first established in 2013 was with the Central Bank of the UAE, which was followed by MOUs with the Securities and Commodities Authority, the Department of Municipal Affairs and the Insurance Authority, to name a few. We are part of a very exciting journey, and ADGM is glad to play a role in supporting the financial development of our market, the UAE and beyond.
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