Presidential decree issued to restructure board of the UAE Central Bank

The regulator has tried to empower lenders to support companies reeling under coronavirus fallout

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, has been appointed as chairman of the Central Bank of the UAE. Ryan Carter / The National
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, has been appointed as chairman of the Central Bank of the UAE. Ryan Carter / The National

President Sheikh Khalifa issued a decree restructuring the board of the Central Bank of the UAE, with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed appointed as chairman.

The restructuring confirms the appointment of Abdulhamid Saeed, first announced in April, as the bank’s governor, while Abdulrahman Al Saleh continues as the bank’s vice chairman. Other board members include Younis Al Khoori, Khalid Balama, Khalid Al Tayer, and Dr Ali Al Rumaithi, according to state news agency Wam.

The central bank has been active in recent months with a series of measures aimed at encouraging banks to support companies suffering from the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The regulator rolled out Dh256 billion worth of measures, starting with a Dh100bn package on March 14 that included a direct Dh50bn injection of funds to boost liquidity by way of zero-cost collateralised loans.

Last month, the central bank said 88 per cent of this facility, known as the Targeted Economic Support Scheme (Tess), had been drawn down by lenders.

“A total of 26 banks availed the Tess liquidity facility, with 17 banks drawing down 100 per cent [of their allocation],” the central bank said.

Measures also included an easing of lenders’ capital and liquidity reserve requirements.

Earlier this month, the bank’s governor Mr Saeed said the UAE’s banking sector was well-capitalised and easily capable of withstanding macroeconomic shocks. The UAE’s banks had an average capital adequacy ratio of 16.9 per cent at the end end March this year, and an eligible liquid asset ratio of 16.6 per cent.

“The banking system proved its ability to face the consequences of Covid-19 pandemic and perform its role in supporting the economy,” Mr Saeed said.

Mr Saeed has invested more than 35 years in the field of banking and financial services. He is a board member of First Abu Dhabi Bank, the largest lender in the UAE, managing director of Reem Investments, and a member of the board of directors for Sky News Arabia and ADQ, the Emirates Investment Authority and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

The governor is also a board member of Mubadala Investment Company and previously served in various key positions at Citibank.

Mr Saeed is a graduate of the University of Arizona.

Updated: July 16, 2020 05:02 PM

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