ADGM appoints Emmanuel Givanakis as new CEO of its regulatory authority

Founding chief executive of the FSRA Richard Teng is stepping down in April 2021

FG81FD View of new business district at Abu Dhabi Global Market square (ADGM) on Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates. Alamy
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Financial free zone Abu Dhabi Global Market appointed a new chief executive to take the helm of its Financial Services Regulatory Authority.

Emmanuel Givanakis, currently the senior executive director of Policy and Legal at the FSRA, will succeed founding chief executive Richard Teng, who will step down in April 2021, ADGM said in a statement on Monday.

Mr Teng, who joined ADGM in 2015, spearheaded the formation of the FSRA and oversaw the “exceptional trajectory” of the FSRA and ADGM's growth, the statement said without specifying a reason for Mr Teng’s departure.

Ahmed Al Sayegh, UAE Minister of State and chairman of ADGM, applauded Mr Teng’s “vision, steadfast commitment and unrivalled contribution in establishing ADGM”.

“Richard’s leadership and drive in propelling ADGM’s stature as a world-class regulatory framework and an innovative adopter of progressive technologies have contributed significantly to our leading position today,” he said.

With close to 26 years of legal and regulatory expertise, Mr Givanakis previously held senior positions in Australia and the UAE. He has been a barrister-at-law to the Supreme Courts of Queensland and New South Wales in Australia. Mr Givanakis joined the FSRA in October 2014 and oversaw the establishment of ADGM’s legislative framework, which contributed to the financial centre’s successful launch the following year.

“Emmanuel has seen ADGM through its growth stages and played a pivotal role in building ADGM’s strong legal and regulatory framework centred on transparency and public engagement,” Mr Al Sayegh said.

“We are confident that his deep knowledge and expertise in shaping a progressive, robust financial services environment give him the aptitude to stand at the helm of the FSRA during the next chapter of ADGM’s success story.”

ADGM, which aims to connect the capital with international markets in the Middle East, Africa and South and East Asian economies, is part of Abu Dhabi's efforts to diversify its economy.

The financial free zone's ecosystem includes international business and financial institutions, treasury centres, professional services firms, global investors, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as start-ups and financial technology firms.

Earlier this month, Mr Teng told The National that ADGM received interest from several firms in the UAE, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific to establish digital banks in the free zone.

“We have approved one last year … [and] we have several more interested parties that are applying both from the region as well as [from] international [markets]," Mr Teng said.

ADGM is further developing several other financial services ecosystems, including sustainable finance. The hub signed an agreement with the International Renewable Energy Agency this year to boost green financing in the UAE and the wider GCC, which "is taking on a more important role in the post-Covid world”, Mr Teng said at the time.