Macquarie accepted into Abu Dhabi market

Macquarie Capital Middle East has been given preliminary approval to be among Abu Dhabi Global Market’s first major financial institution members.

The regional arm of the major Australian investment bank, known for its infrastructure finance practice, has received approval from ADGM’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority to operate within the new free zone, according to an online report in The National, a government-owned, Abu Dhabi-based publication.

The UK’s Aberdeen Asset Management is currently awaiting approval, the article noted, quoting an Aberdeen spokesperson as saying it was not as far advanced in its licence application as Macquarie and did not expect to receive approval until late summer.

The ADGM is Abu Dhabi’s answer to the highly-successful Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). It was formally established (by ‘Federal Decree’) in 2013, and opened for business in the oil-rich emirate – which is home to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the richest sovereign wealth funds in the world– in October.

ADIA manages a diversified global investment portfolio across more than two dozen asset classes, including Britain’s Gatwick airport and Thames Water, and had total assets of US$773bn at the end of December, according to an estimate by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, which ranks it second in the world in terms of AUM.

Abu Dhabi Global Market is located on Al Maryah Island, a 114-hectare “business, leisure and entertainment hub”, which is also home to such hotels as the Rosewood and Four Seasons; what is said to be the “first ever specialty Cleveland Clinic Hospital outside of the US”; and up-market shopping facilities.

Afkar Capital, an incubator for asset management fund start-ups, was the first financial institution brought on board by ADGM, The National noted, receiving its licence in January.

As reported, Jersey’s Financial Services Commission last month signed a memorandum of understanding with the ADGM’s regulatory authority, which it said would enable the two jurisdictions’ regulators to better cooperate on supervisory matters and more easily exchange information.

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