Abu Dhabi Global Market on track to open this year

The ADGM is close to completing the final version of the financial regulations, in consultation with interested parties from the regional and international banking community.

Richard Teng, the chief regulator at ADGM, the financial free zone may be able to ‘go live’ in the early part of the fourth quarter. Irene García León for The National
Powered by automated translation

Abu Dhabi Global Market, the UAE capital's planned financial free zone, is on track to "go live" by the end of the year, Richard Teng, the ADGM's top regulator, has told The National.

In his first interview since taking up the job of chief executive of the ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority, Mr Teng said: “The general commercial regulations were finalised in June, and the public consultation on the financial regulations closed in early August.

"Once those have been finalised we will be able to 'go live' in the early part of the fourth quarter," he added. The ADGM is close to completing the final version of the financial regulations, in consultation with interested parties from the regional and international banking community. Some 16 banks and financial institutions, including leaders such as National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Goldman Sachs, have given feedback on the draft regulations.

That process resulted in some “tweaks and enhancements, but not a change of direction”, Mr Teng said. Regulations for commercial companies in ADGM’s headquarters on Al Maryah Island were agreed and issued in early summer. Since he arrived at the ADGM in spring, Mr Teng has been gauging international appetite for the new market, which plans initially to focus on private banking, wealth and asset management, with visits to the big financial centres of the world, from New York to Singapore. “I’m pretty confident there will be plenty of interest in ADGM,” he said.

ADGM, under the chairman Ahmed Al Sayegh, has also been busy appointing executives to the top jobs in the key functions of registration and regulation.

The appointment of a chief justice to oversee the independent courts system is the biggest remaining job. ADGM is thought to be close to finding a candidate for the key position, who will help to build an arbitration process which many potential ADGM members regards as essential.

Although the early focus of ADGM is on private banking and wealth management, in the long term it could add more financial specialisms.

“Longer term the regulations are designed to handle the full spectrum of financial services, for example market regulations, M&A activity and all the other activities of a full financial services centre. The groundwork is there for all of that,” Mr Teng said.

fkane@thenational.ae

Follow The National's Business section on Twitter