Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial centre (IFC) in the capital of the UAE ended the year 2022 with several notable accomplishments, making it the fastest growing IFC in the region and continues to contribute to positioning Abu Dhabi as a leading financial powerhouse and a ‘falcon economy’.
With a robust regulatory ecosystem, the IFC has been aligned with Abu Dhabi’s economic goals and vision bringing innovation, transformation and diversification in various key sectors by leveraging its strengths and showcasing remarkable growth in the asset management space while also driving progressive initiatives for sustainable finance.
The previous year saw ADGM’s strategic impetus across traditional and new-age finance clusters create opportunities for commercial development, local market adoption and access to talent. In line with this, it enhanced its operating model, organisation structure, streamlined processes and improved systems to improve efficiency.
ADGM key achievements in 2022:
- Assets under management grew by 56% in 2022.
- In 2022, ADGM Square’s workforce reflected 10,954 talented individuals as compared to 8,522 in 2021, displaying a rise of 29%.
- ADGM signed a total of 25 MoUs in 2022, promoting the centre’s business-friendly environment that facilitates ease of doing business, customer service and seamless integration of operations within the IFC.
- Total active licences at ADGM were 5546, including both financial services firms and non-financial firms compared to 4262 companies reported in 2021, showcasing a total increase of 30% of active licences in 2022.
- Operational entities within ADGM showcased a growth of 30% with the total number rising from 1,061 to 1,378.
- ADGM-registered companies Borouge, Burjeel Holdings, Bayanat AI, and Americana Restaurants got listed last year on Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX). American Restaurants got dual listing as it was also listed on Saudi Exchange. Anghami, which has its global headquarters and R&D centre in ADGM completed its listing on NASDAQ in 2022.
- An additional space of 32,000 sqm was added with the introduction of Al Maryah tower in 2022, reflecting the ongoing growth of occupancy in ADGM square and a testament to the centre being an attractive destination for global anchors and financial institutions to establish their presence in ADGM.
- ADGM has positioned itself as a leading international financial centre in the Middle East and Africa region and is globally recognised as the 32nd best international financial centre as per the GFCI 32 report.
- In 2022, the caseload for ADGM Courts increased significantly to 317 cases, compared to 139 cases in 2021, with over 80% of those cases due to parties outside ADGM selecting the Court to resolve their disputes.
- ADGM academy (ADGMA) successfully placed 1,033 Emirati Nationals in private sector firms, focusing on critical job roles in the banking, finance, investment, and digital sectors.
In 2022, ADGM authorities took significant steps across various sectors to enable a more business-friendly environment that is both robust and progressive in nature.
Key highlights in 2022 included:
- ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) issued enhancements to its capital markets framework with the introduction of environmental instruments to enable trading in carbon credits and offsets; The new regulations for environmental instruments led to the world’s first fully regulated carbon trading exchange and carbon clearing house, AirCarbon Exchange to establish its global operations in Abu Dhabi.
- The FSRA announced the introduction of a Private Capital Markets regulatory framework, OTC Leveraged Products and FATCA Tax Legislations to explore the potential opportunities arising in the financial sector, emphasising its key pillars of transparency, accountability and market integrity within the centre,
- The FSRA introduced enhancements to its Common Reporting Standards Regulations, introduced Regulatory Guiding Principles on the approach of virtual asset regulation and supervision (Virtual asset 2.0 framework) and announced the Guiding principles on whistleblowing.
- ADGM achieved “carbon-neutrality” status in 2022 by offsetting its 2021 carbon emissions thus becoming the world’s first ‘carbon-neutral’ international financial centre.
- ADGM led the issuance of the second High-Level statement ‘2022 Public Statement on Collaboration on Sustainable Finance in the UAE’ in collaboration with the UAE Sustainable Finance Working Group. The issuance was aligned with COP27.
- ADGM’s Registration Authority (RA) announced the proposed changes to ADGM’s Commercial legislation and its Company Service Provider (CSP) framework through consultation papers published for each one, respectively.
- ADGM Courts announced the introduction of the world’s first blockchain technology for the global enforcement of commercial judgments as they continued to demonstrate their leadership in digitising justice.
- ADGM Arbitration Centre launched the world’s first ‘mediation in the metaverse’, to increase the reach and effectiveness of mediation as a preferred form of dispute resolution and revolutionise the delivery of mediation across the globe.
- The first edition of RESOLVE was launched as Abu Dhabi’s dispute resolution forum by ADGM Courts and ADGM Arbitration Centre was attended by more than 2,400 physical and virtual participants, the event discussed vital topics including sustainability, fintech, cyberverse and the UAE’s ‘Towards the Next 50’.
- ADGM launched, Abu Dhabi Finance Week (ADFW), focused on four theme days, namely, Asset Abu Dhabi, Fintech Abu Dhabi, Crypto Abu Dhabi, and R.A.C.E (Regulation, Awareness, Collaboration, Ecosystem). ADFW staged over 30 events that brought together 8,200+ participants.
Commenting on ADGM’s notable achievements H.E. Ahmed Al Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of ADGM said, “Through substantial progress achieved in 2022, ADGM has strongly positioned itself as the fastest growing IFC in the region and continues to contribute to the growth of Abu Dhabi’s ’falcon economy’, enhancing its international standing as the ‘capital of capital’. Every milestone accomplished by ADGM has highlighted our capital city’s cemented foundation as a sustainable international financial hub demonstrating global significance.”
He further added, “The positive results obtained with the adoption of a tech-driven and functional cluster strategy by ADGM in 2022 are promising and will continue in 2023 as we see more and more global investors, businesses and professionals gravitating towards Abu Dhabi and making it their destination of choice to work and thrive.”