The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is maintaining its status as a central international hub for companies wishing to grow in the area. Regarding numbers and geographic coverage, ADGM is the fastest-growing international financial centre (IFC) in the MENA area, thanks to its rapid development and accomplishments in just eight years of operation.
To meet the increased need for a greater variety of office space, ADGM started extending its authority across Al Maryah Island last year. The Al Maryah Tower added 32,000 sqm to this expansion. One of the largest financial districts in the world, the financial district recently announced the expansion of its jurisdiction as a financial free zone to combine the area of Al Maryah Island and Al Reem Island to increase its footprint by a factor of 10. It has attracted industry giants like Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, and more recently, the IPA for Goldman Sachs to open a branch there.
CEO Dhaher Al Mheiri claims that the growing demand for ADGM’s services and for businesses to have offices in the UAE’s capital city is evidence of the company’s success. He told Khaleej Times, “We are thrilled to have observed such enormous development, culminating in 2022’s achievement of a 30% rise, with more than 6,000 companies presently registered and licensed at ADGM.
Al Mheiri outlined how ADGM’s four primary strategic themes—people, performance, efficiency, and a progressive regulatory framework—are the foundation for achieving the organization’s mission and goals. “Progress in both the size and numbers of ADGM is the combination of growth as a driver of the main pillars,” he stated. In addition to its recently released accomplishments for 2022, the extension of ADGM’s jurisdiction proves that it is the IFC in the region with the highest growth rate.
Dhaher said when asked about adding more towers: “ADGM and its authorities are currently working with key government stakeholders and other local authorities to work towards creating a seamless transition.” When describing his plans for the IFC in the upcoming years, he emphasized the alignment of ADGM with Abu Dhabi’s overarching objectives, saying: “Our efforts underline Abu Dhabi’s economic vision as well as ADGM’s Growth Strategy 2023-2027, which aims to grow the financial sector of Abu Dhabi and position it as a leading financial hub with the sector becoming a key contributor to GDP.”
Al Mheiri credited most of ADGM’s achievements to its forward-thinking yet solid regulatory framework, which provides a holistic ecosystem to established businesses, investment firms, start-ups, and entrepreneurs, offers accessibility, and emphasizes customer-centricity. Al Mheiri described the framework as a differentiating factor, making it a launchpad for regional and global businesses.
“Abu Dhabi has emerged as the ‘falcon economy’ and a gateway of opportunities to the MEASA (Middle East, Africa, and South Asia) region due to the presence of some of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) and an abundance of private wealth capital that fulfils the investment and funding needs of various businesses,” he said.
Abu Dhabi has firmly established its reputation as the “capital of capital” by being home to some of the world’s most significant sovereign wealth funds, with more than $1.3 trillion in assets, according to the data platform Global SWF (Sovereign Wealth Fund). According to the Henley Global Citizen’s Report, the emirate is also one of the fastest-growing millionaire destinations in the world, with a high concentration of 23,800 HNWI, making it the third most significant location for HNWIs in the MENA region.
The CEO emphasized ADGM’s commitment to continually enhancing its regulatory capabilities and environment to support capital raising for more and more companies to choose Abu Dhabi as their home and regional headquarters, saying that ADGM is well-positioned to take advantage of this opportunity given its proximity to SWFs and institutional investors.
“Every initiative by ADGM is introduced keeping in mind the advancement of the emirate’s goals and ambitions for the coming years and pushes ADGM to redouble its efforts to create vast opportunities and serve as a future-proof mechanism to continue introducing economic opportunities,” he said.
ADGM aims to increase its dominance in critical areas of the regional and international financial market, particularly in asset management, sustainable finance, digital assets, and private funds. Some of the leading global businesses in this industry, including Brevan Howard, Gulf Capital, Winton Capital, ACM Limited, and Halo Investing, have chosen to have their headquarters in the IFC due to its emphasis on asset management.
With its recent physical expansion and ability to draw in more international businesses, ADGM is expected to play a leading role in the economic diversification of Abu Dhabi and strengthen its reputation as a forward-thinking, long-lasting global financial hub.