Many are questioning how Abu Dhabi plans to turn its dream
of creating a financial free zone into a reality that can rival
regional incumbent Dubai.
The oil-rich emirate has been busy recruiting senior figures
from around the globe to head up the new free zone, known as
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), which aims to be
operational in 2015.
Most recently, in October, it announced the
hire of Richard Teng, chief regulatory officer of the
Singapore Exchange, to head its regulatory body.
But given the presence of the neighbouring Dubai
International Financial Centre (DIFC), it’s
unclear whether the UAE, which has a population of almost 10
million, needs another financial zone. "It’s a
question of whether there’s room for two in a
region which is still relatively small," said Abu Dhabi-based
James Farn, head of banking & finance at Hadef &
Partners’ Abu Dhabi office.