The new Offshore Financial Center of Abu Dhabi (ADGM)

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Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), a new international financial center in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced on December 10, 2014, that it has appointed an expert panel of 16 leading financial institutions toto advise its regulatory framework development to govern institutions licensed to operate from ADGM. 

appointing a panel of 16 institutions to advise on its regulatory framework, it said on Wednesday.

The launch of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) comes as the emirate seeks to diversify its economy away from oil and gas, while widening its footprint in the Gulf’s competitive financial services industry. Dubai, Qatar and Bahrain already have established financial centres.

The panel includes senior representatives from National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, First Gulf Bank, Mubadala Development Company, ADS Securities, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, HSBC, and Standard Chartered, among others.

Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Chairman of ADGM, said: “The Pre Open Market Consultation process is a major step in preparing Abu Dhabi Global Market to receive its first license applications from financial institutions in 2015. Consultation and collaboration are at the core of ADGM’s ambition to become a global financial center, and we are delighted to be working with our panel of renowned global financial institutions to ensure that, when ADGM launches, it will offer a regulatory regime that provides maximum support and protection for business and is also completely compatible with the leading financial centers in the world.”

The ADGM may face tough competition from the well-established Dubai International Financial Centre, which is only 90 minutes’ drive away, but Abu Dhabi’s vast oil wealth and status as capital of the UAE mean global financial institutions are unlikely to ignore it.

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ADGM aims to become a top offshore full-service financial zone with its own administration, court system and tax incentives to attract banks and companies from around the world. Initially the focus  will be mainly on private banking, asset management,and wealth management during the first phase of its establishment. It will provide firms with a number of benefits, including exemption from taxes guaranteed for 50 years, flexible rules on profit’s rempatriation, exemption from import duties, and allow 100 percent foreign ownership.

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