The government of Abu Dhabi intends to establish a full-service financial zone on Al Maryah Island near Abu Dhabi’s city centre. Initial reports suggest that the zone would have an independent administration and court system to attract banks and other financial institutions from all over the world. Some market observers believed that the new centre would provide tough competition to Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and challenge its premier status as the Middle East’s top financial centre.
The planned Abu Dhabi financial zone should not be viewed as a threat to Dubai, but is expected to complement Dubai and the other Emirates of the UAE and provide greater depth to the financial markets.
The proposed zone is expected to attract business types, such as market-making, money markets, asset management, commodities trading and prime brokerage services. Currently, these services lack sophistication and market depth in Abu Dhabi. With the private sector expected to lead the development of Abu Dhabi’s financial centre it will provide a conducive environment for sell-side services to match the buy-side requirements of Abu Dhabi and the region.
The close proximity of the two financial centers will boost market sentiment and propel the UAE’s economy. Other global financial centres located in Tokyo and Osaka, London-Frankfurt-Zurich, and New York and Chicago, thrive because they complement each other and offer a full range of services.
According to Mahmood Ebraheem al Mahmood, chief executive and chairman of ADS Holding; “It brings complementarity to Dubai and to the region overall. We are looking at opening a door of a new set of services that was not here. If you open this door, there will only be more traffic flow.” The privately owned financial firm which is based in Abu Dhabi, plans to establish operations in the planned zone.