Published August 2015
The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) was established as a financial free zone in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. The ADGM has developed a world class infrastructure, favourable business environment and a sound regulatory framework for new businesses. The ADGM has a three pillar system: (a) the Financial Services Regulatory Authority which regulates and monitors compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations; (b) the Registration Authority, which manages all aspects of incorporation, registration and licensing of legal entities; and (c) the ADGM Courts, which provide business friendly dispute resolution services.
The ADGM comes as a breeze of fresh air, amidst the many established free zones functioning in the UAE. It is envisaged that the ADGM will in due course develop into a centralised business zone for new businesses and to channel investments into the UAE. As the ADGM evolves with time, it would be interesting to see whether the ADGM gets positioned at par with the decade old Dubai Investment and Finance Centre (DIFC), or whether the ADGM emerges as a distinct player, creating a niche for itself. The ADGM, in time, may provide a platform for businesses where other existing free zones (for example, the DIFC) may not be adequately suitable. We may see the landscape evolve to something similar to that of London; namely, two distinct financial markets; the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE), whereby the former has less stringent, faster and more cost effective listing process as compared to the latter.
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Darryl Paul Barretto