The Abu Dhabi Global Market has experienced a remarkable 35% growth in assets under management during the first half of 2023, solidifying its status as the fastest-growing financial hub in the region.
A total of 102 asset managers, including investment firms and hedge funds overseeing 128 funds, established their presence in the capital’s financial center over the six-month period.
In the six months leading up to June, 46 international and regional companies received in-principle approval to operate within the ADGM. This represents a staggering 119% increase compared to the same period last year, and these companies are poised to become fully operational soon, according to ADGM’s statement on Thursday.
Ahmed Al Zaabi, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development and ADGM, commented, “The significant presence of major global players choosing Abu Dhabi as their business base signifies a major transformation that supports the growth and diversification of the falcon economy. We are thrilled to witness ADGM’s growth, further reinforcing our position as the fastest-growing international financial center in the region.”
Abu Dhabi’s economy has continued to thrive, implementing various programs to attract global market participants and leverage its entrepreneurial infrastructure and business-friendly regulations.
In the first quarter of the year, the non-oil economy of the UAE capital grew by 6.1% annually, with the sector’s gross domestic product reaching its highest level in nine years, driven by a strong diversification effort, according to Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi.
In May’s Annual Investment Conference, Mr. Al Zaabi announced that the emirate’s GDP exceeded Dh1.1 trillion ($299.5 billion) in 2022, marking a substantial 9.3% growth over 2021, with the non-oil sector accounting for half of this figure. Abu Dhabi aims to boost its non-oil exports by 143% to Dh178.8 billion by 2031.
Meanwhile, AUMs (Assets Under Management) in the GCC are expected to surpass the global average, reaching approximately $500 billion in onshore assets by 2026, up from $400 billion at the end of 2022, as per a report by PwC unit Strategy& published last month.
Alan Howard, founder of fund management firm Brevan Howard, managing over $30 billion of assets globally, remarked, “Abu Dhabi and ADGM offer a transparent and business-friendly environment to the banking, FinTech, and investment management industries. It is an important global hub with tremendous potential.”
Notable global firms that have chosen ADGM as their base in 2023 include the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Apollo, Ardian, Blackstone, Fidera, Fifth Wall, Goldman Sachs, Ray Dalio’s family investment office, SBI Capital, Tikehau Capital, and Vibrant Capital.
Earlier this year, the AIIB, a $100 billion multilateral development bank headquartered in Beijing, signed an agreement to open its first overseas office in the ADGM, set to open on September 19.
ADGM is also a preferred destination for local and regional firms, including Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ, Abu Dhabi artificial intelligence company G42, Chimera, Gulf Capital, OneIM, and Investcorp.
Rajeev Misra, chief executive of OneIM, stated, “Abu Dhabi has become an international hub for investors, employers, and employees alike. [It] enables us to pursue many of the exciting opportunities we see in this region and to propel the firm into the next stage of its journey.”
During the first half of 2023, the ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority began implementing its sustainable finance regulatory framework, encompassing the region’s most comprehensive environmental, social, and governance disclosure requirements.
Additionally, ADGM introduced a regulatory framework for funds, discretionary managed portfolios, bonds, and sukuks aimed at accelerating the UAE’s transition to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
This complements ADGM’s existing regulation of carbon offsets, facilitating the establishment of the AirCarbon Exchange, the world’s first regulated carbon offsets exchange and clearing house within ADGM.
Another significant development was the tenfold expansion of ADGM’s geographic area, extending its jurisdiction to include Al Reem Island, in addition to the existing Al Maryah Island. This positioning makes ADGM one of the largest financial districts globally, covering an area of 14.38 million square meters.
Publish Date: 14 Sep 2023
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