ADGM added 447 firms last year with assets under management up 35%

Size of Abu Dhabi financial centre's workforce increased by 22 per cent

The ADGM building on Al Maryah Island. A further 125 firms are in the pipeline to be registered with the centre. Ruel Pableo / The National
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Abu Dhabi Global Market posted a 35 per cent growth in its assets under management last year, with the number of operational firms also rising by 32 per cent annually amid its ambitious expansion plans.

The number of firms in the centre rose to 1,825, up from 1,378 in 2022, with some of the new entrants including Brevan Howard, Ardian, Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, SBI Capital, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Apollo and Vibrant Capital, ADGM said.

Several investment firms and hedge funds were set up within ADGM last year, with the total number of asset managers reaching 102, managing 141 funds.

A further 125 firms are also in the pipeline to be registered with the centre, it said.

Meanwhile, ADGM’s workforce rose 22 per cent annually to 13,394 last year.

“In merely eight years, we have become one of the world’s largest financial districts and the fastest-growing international financial centre in the region, for two years consecutively,” said Ahmed Al Zaabi, chairman of ADGM.

“We remain strongly positive as we move forward into 2024.”

ADGM is part of Abu Dhabi’s efforts to increase the financial sector’s contribution to the emirate’s economy and diversify away from oil.

Abu Dhabi’s non-oil gross domestic product expanded 8.6 per cent in the first nine months of last year, Statistics Centre Abu Dhabi said in December.

The emirate's total GDP for the January-September period grew by 2.8 per cent on an annual basis, despite fluctuations in the world's oil and gas markets.

In the third quarter, financial and insurance activities grew 14.4 per cent annually, boosting the sector's value to Dh18.7 billion ($5 billion) and contributing 6.4 per cent to Abu Dhabi's GDP, SCAD said.

To support the growth of its financial sector, in May, the government announced a tenfold expansion of ADGM by adding Reem Island to the financial free zone’s jurisdiction, expanding its area to about 1,438 hectares.

The move made the ADGM one of the world’s largest international financial districts.

A growing number of family offices and institutional investors are setting up base in Abu Dhabi’s financial hub amid robust economic momentum.

In April last year, Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund that manages more than $150 billion in assets, said he was establishing a branch in ADGM as part of expansion in the Middle East.

In November, TCI Fund Management, controlled by billionaire hedge fund manager Sir Christopher Hohn, and the family office of technology entrepreneur Christian Angermayer, also set up offices in the centre.

ADGM said its growth last year also reflected its regulatory framework improvements that enabled collective investment funds to invest in credit through its private credit fund framework.

In the first half of last year, the centre also introduced a regulatory framework for sustainable finance, outlining regulations for funds, discretionary managed portfolios, bonds and sukuks to support the UAE's transition to net zero.

At Cop28 last year, the Global Climate Finance Centre was set up at ADGM to accelerate the development of climate finance frameworks and skills.

The financial centre will also host the Dh30 billion Alterra climate vehicle, which will seek to improve access to funding for the Global South.

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Updated: March 07, 2024, 7:06 AM