ADGM's assets under management up 56% in 2022 as financial centre attracts more businesses

Total active licences grew 30% annually to 5,546, including permits for both financial services and non-financial companies

The Abu Dhabi Global Market at Al Maryah Island. The number of operational entities within the financial free zone rose to 1,378 last year. Ruel Pableo / The National
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The Abu Dhabi Global Market grew its assets under management by 56 per cent last year as it welcomed more businesses and expanded its workforce, retaining its status as one of the fastest-growing financial centres in the Mena region.

Total active licences at the financial free zone grew by 30 per cent annually to 5,546, including permits for both financial services and non-financial companies, while ADGM Square’s workforce rose by about 29 per cent annually to 10,954, ADGM said on Monday.

The number of operational entities within the ADGM also increased by 30 per cent to 1,378.

An additional space of 32,000 square metres was added with the introduction of Al Maryah tower in 2022, “reflecting the ongoing growth of occupancy in ADGM square”, the financial free zone said.

“Through substantial progress achieved in 2022, ADGM has strongly positioned itself as the fastest-growing IFC [international financial centre] in the region and continues to contribute to the growth of Abu Dhabi’s ’falcon economy’, enhancing its international standing as the ‘capital of capital’,” said chairman Ahmed Al Zaabi.

“The positive results obtained with the adoption of a tech-driven and functional cluster strategy by ADGM in 2022 are promising and will continue in 2023 as we see more and more global investors, businesses and professionals gravitating towards Abu Dhabi and making it their destination of choice to work and thrive.”

The UAE has been seeking to attract more businesses and has announced several new measures, including the expansion of the 10-year Golden Visa programme and free trade agreements with different countries to boost foreign investment.

The country has also introduced the NextGenFDI initiative, which offers incentives to attract digital companies to set up in the country.

In 2022, ADGM authorities also carried several initiatives to support businesses.

The ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) enhanced its capital markets framework with the introduction of environmental instruments to enable trading in carbon credits and offsets.

The new regulations led the world’s first fully regulated carbon trading exchange and carbon clearing house, AirCarbon Exchange, establishing its global operations in Abu Dhabi.

President Sheikh Mohamed declares 2023 the 'Year of Sustainability'

President Sheikh Mohamed declares 2023 the 'Year of Sustainability'

The FSRA also launched a Private Capital Markets regulatory framework, OTC Leveraged Products and FATCA Tax Legislations, to explore the potential opportunities in the financial sector.

It also introduced regulatory guiding principles on the approach of virtual asset regulation and supervision to support the growing digital assets sector in the country.

In December, the ADGM published guiding principles on whistleblowing as it looks to further boost transparency.

The guidance is for all ADGM-registered entities and reflects the financial centre's commitment to accountability and market integrity, it said at the time.

Meanwhile, the ADGM achieved “carbon-neutrality” status in 2022 by offsetting its 2021 carbon emissions, it said. The move made it “the world’s first carbon-neutral international financial centre”.

Looking ahead, the ADGM aims to continue boosting the number of companies it has, Dhaher Al Mheiri, chief executive of the registration authority of the ADGM, told The National in November.

“Our numbers will keep growing. We are a platform for businesses to choose and with the growth of the UAE, we grow together,” Mr Al Mheiri said at the time.

“Abu Dhabi is the destination not just for the local market and the UAE, not just for the region, but global.”

Updated: March 20, 2023, 11:33 AM