Abu Dhabi rises to 25th position in worldwide financial centres league table

Dubai climbs seven places to number 18 while London retains pole position

Over the past year, the fin­ancial regulator has been boosting regulations at the ADGM to attract more businesses to set up shop in the freezone. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
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Abu Dhabi plans to become one of the world's top ten financial centres, according to Abu Dhabi Global Market chairman Ahmed Al Sayegh, as the nascent freezone continues to build up its service offering and attract new members.

The capital's prominence as a financial centre received a boost yesterday, rising three places to number 25 in the closely-watched Global Financial Center Index (GFCI), compiled every six months by London-based market intelligence firm Z\Yen.

"This serves as an endorsement of Abu Dhabi's initiatives and efforts to enhance its strengths as a financial center," said Mr Al Sayegh."It also spurs us to continue raising the bar and improving the sectors to better serve the needs of our stakeholders."

Abu Dhabi's improved score in the rankings comes following a busy six months. In May, the freezone announced the launch of the ADGM Talent Hub, intended to attract international business schools and professional institutions, together with the re-location of Insead Abu Dhabi's campus to the freezone's Al Maryah Island headquarters.

"Our target is to be in the top 10 [financial freezones worldwide]," Mr Al Sayegh told The National at the GFCI launch event in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

"We continue to invest in human capital. INSEAD will open soon, in October I think and our training academy which helps all the banks will be open in the first quarter."

ADGM is also positioning itself as a hub for fintech institutions across the region, with the launch last year of its 'RegLab' incubator programme for fintech entrepreneurs, and the FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge for start-ups, in conjunction with KPMG. The centre is planning to host a major Fintech summit in the coming months.

"Abu Dhabi is the fintech capital of the Middle East," said Mr Al Sayegh. We were the first to have a regulatory lab focused on Fintech and hopefully in the next month the Fintech summit here will establish our position even further.

In July, ADGM announced a landmark new arbitration hearing centre, alongside an agreement with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), marking a significant addition to the country’s legal infrastructure.

Dubai rose seven places in the GFCI rankings to clinch the number 18 position, the highest of any Middle Eastern financial centre. London retained the number one spot in the rankings, followed in second position by New York, inline with its ranking in last year's GFCI survey.