Abu Dhabi Global Market publishes whistleblowing guidelines to boost transparency

Move in line with financial hub's commitment to accountability and market integrity

Abu Dhabi Global Market is among the fastest growing financial hubs in the Mena region. Photo: Aldar
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has published guiding principles on whistleblowing as it looks to further boost transparency in one of the fastest-growing financial hubs in the Middle East and North Africa.

The guidance is for all ADGM-registered entities and reflects the financial hub's commitment to accountability and market integrity, ADGM said in a statement on Tuesday.

“In line with global movements in favour of ever-increasing transparency and corporate accountability, strong and effective whistleblowing frameworks are considered a hallmark of good governance and risk management at any organisation,” said Emmanuel Givanakis, chief executive of ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

The guidance on whistleblowing “highlights the importance of an ethical corporate culture to build strong foundations to secure the future success of any business”, he added.

ADGM, a central plank of Abu Dhabi's efforts to diversify its economy, connects the emirate with markets in the Mena region and economies in South and East Asia.

The financial free zone is home to more than 5,400 companies, including global businesses, financial institutions, treasury centres, professional services companies, small and medium enterprises, start-ups, FinTechs, digital asset trading and advisory entities.

The FSRA has consistently been improving its regulations and frameworks to mitigate risks and boost transparency.

Whistleblowing mechanisms provide enhanced legal protection for those who report misconduct internally or externally to auditors or regulators.

The move by ADGM follows that of Dubai International Financial Centre's, which earlier this year launched a regulatory regime for whistleblowing for all entities operating in or from the DIFC.

Last year, the UAE Central Bank also set up a whistleblowing portal allowing employees and other parties to report concerns about misconduct.

The portal is "an encrypted channel that allows internal and external stakeholders to anonymously raise any concern related to misconduct or policy violations" by any of the Central Bank's own employees, contractors or other representatives, the regulator said at the time.

The ADGM principles provide guidance for all entities in the financial centre to build and maintain their whistleblowing frameworks.

“They serve as a reminder that ADGM believes a culture that supports speaking up with confidence forms part of any progressive business environment,” ADGM said.

The principles complement the financial hub’s existing regulatory frameworks and cover six key aspects of the whistleblowing framework, including a guiding definition of whistleblowing, ensuring that whistleblowers are given adequate opportunities to speak up and are fairly treated when they do so.

“ADGM encourages all ADGM entities to review and align their whistleblowing programmes in line with these guidelines, in support of the continued growth of ADGM as a leading international financial centre,” Mr Givanakis said.

Updated: December 06, 2022, 2:05 PM