ADGM's assets under management post record 211% surge in first quarter

Performance was driven by an 'unprecedented influx' of global asset managers establishing operations in the financial hub

Abu Dhabi Global Market, which operates across Al Maryah Island and Al Reem Island, said its workforce grew to more than 25,000 in 2023. Victor Besa / The National
Powered by automated translation

The Abu Dhabi Global Market posted a record surge in its assets under management during the first quarter of 2024, driven by an "unprecedented influx" of global asset managers establishing operations in the international financial centre.

AUMs soared by 211 per cent annually in the three months ended March, as the number of operational entities rose by 30 per cent year-on-year to 1,950, including 291 financial services entities, ADGM said on Monday.

The number of fund and asset managers operating at ADGM reached 107, which collectively manage 137 funds, it said.

“ADGM’s unwavering commitment to excellence, demonstrated through its initiatives and achievements, continues to drive remarkable growth, attracting talent, businesses and quality investments from across the globe," said Ahmed Al Zaabi, chairman of ADGM.

ADGM, which operates across Al Maryah Island and Al Reem Island, said its workforce has grown to more than 25,000 as more people moved to the capital. ADGM expects nearly 71 per cent of its companies to expand their workforce in 2024, with 30 per cent hinting at "significant" increases this year.

Additionally, the ADGM Academy has helped integrate hundreds of Emiratis across companies in the UAE through its training programmes, boosting the UAE's local talent pool.

"This collective optimism reflects Abu Dhabi's robust economic health and the strong confidence within the business community in the conducive business environment of the IFC [international financial centre]," ADGM said.

Established in 2015, the financial centre "plays a key role in the emirate's economy with its regulatory frameworks, English common law legal framework, and its incorporation and business services, all of which reflect the business-friendly environment of Abu Dhabi".

The UAE capital's economy grew 3.1 per cent annually in 2023, hitting its highest level in a decade, as a sharp expansion of the non-oil sector drove momentum amid a continuing push for diversification.

The emirate's gross domestic product for the 12 months to the end of December reached Dh1.14 trillion ($310.63 billion), its best performance in terms of value in 10 years despite challenges and global market fluctuations that affected all sectors, according to government data.

ADGM's strong start to the year comes after an equally robust 2023, in which its AUMs rose by 35 per cent annually, with 102 asset managers that oversaw 141 funds, and its workforce grew 22 per cent year-on-year to 13,394.

A total of 1,825 operational entities were active last year, which was 32 per cent higher compared to 2022. ADGM said in March that it expects 125 companies to join its fold in 2024.

Meanwhile, AUMs in the GCC are projected to expand above the global average to hit about $500 billion in onshore assets by 2026, from $400 billion at the end of 2022, latest available data from PwC unit Strategy& showed earlier.

"This year holds the promise of even greater growth for ADGM and its ecosystem, marking a significant stride towards achieving Abu Dhabi’s economic goals and ambitions," Mr Al Zaabi said on Monday.

Among major global companies that have set up base at ADGM include Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, SBI Capital, Apollo, Fifth Wall, Fidera, Vibrant Capital and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Local and regional entities operating from ADGM include ADQ, G42, Chimera Capital, Gulf Capital, Investcorp, among others.

In the first half of 2023, ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority started implementing its sustainable finance regulatory framework, including comprehensive environmental, social and governance disclosure requirements.

Additionally, ADGM introduced a regulatory framework for funds, discretionary managed portfolios, bonds and sukuk to support the UAE's transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

At Cop28 last year, the Global Climate Finance Centre was established at ADGM to enhance climate finance frameworks and skills. ADGM will also host the $30 billion Alterra climate vehicle, with an aim to improve access to funding for the Global South.

ADGM also expanded its jurisdiction last year to include Al Reem Island – from the existing Al Maryah Island – making it one of the largest financial districts globally at 14.38 million square metres.

Updated: May 21, 2024, 6:05 AM