The ADGM chief executive said Saudi reforms would not come at any cost in Abu Dhabi

An Emirati woman prints a skyscraper in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Wednesday, October 2, 201.

Christopher Pike | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Abu Dhabi, UAE – Saudi Arabia’s efforts to compete with the UAE as the region’s top business and financial center will not have a “dramatic negative impact” on Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Global Markets chief executive Mark Katis (ADGM) told CNBC in an interview on Sunday.

“Here, it’s easy to move your family, it’s easy to live here, and your rule of law, capital pool and visa situation – it’s a package,” Coutis said.

His remarks, the first since ADGM became CEO in June this year, came amid growing economic competition between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as both countries seek to boost oil-free sector growth by recovering from the epidemic.

Saudi Arabia has said its government will stop doing business with international companies that do not have regional headquarters in the state by 2024 – a move widely seen as an attempt to bring multinationals from Dubai to Riyadh. Last month, the UAE launched plans to attract বিনিয়োগ 150 billion in foreign investment over the next nine years and reformed its visa program to attract and retain foreign talent.

Dubai’s Expo 2020 is projected to bring in বিনিয়োগ 33 billion in UAE investment, as well as a 1.5% increase in GDP, according to the EDP’s epidemic forecast. The same advisory firm Expo is worth .. 6 billion, but it is too early to say whether it will return the investment to the largest event in the Middle East.

“Non-financial returns are very important-from a symbolic perspective দেখ to show the world that the country has reopened, we have come through the epidemic and we are back in business,” Coutis said.

According to the UAE’s central bank, the UAE economy is expected to grow 2.1% this year and 4.2% in 2022.

“The business has actually been incredibly strong,” Coutts added. “We’ll put ourselves in the category of people who have risen from the post-epidemic world to the right, so overall, thumbs up,” he said.

Abu Dhabi Global Markets, an international financial center located on Al Maria Island in the capital Abu Dhabi, has 3,448 registered companies as of Q21, 2021 and operates assets of more than 75 75 billion, according to the ADGM website.

Merger coming?

Kutis offered an open assessment of the UAE capital market, saying the country’s three major exchanges could merge in the future.

“Ultimately, the economy and efficiency constraints are more important than other considerations,” Kutis told CNBC about the possibility of three exchanges in the UAE.

Estimates of consolidation within the exchange can be found for up to a decade, with the Abu Dhabi Exchange (ADX) effectively competing with neighboring Dubai Financial Markets (DFM) and Nasdaq Dubai for listing and trading activities.

Investors observe a screen displaying stock information on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadaul) after the launch of Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO) on the Saudi stock market in Riyadh, December 11, 2019 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Ahmed Yosari | Reuters

Tareq Fadallah, CEO of Nomura Asset Management Middle East, criticized the current system.

“Fractured regional exchanges, each under their own system and under their own rules, hinder their ability to scale and attract larger institutional investors,” Fadllah told CNBC.

“Among regional exchanges, only Saudi Tadaul has made great strides in increasing inventory numbers, increasing foreign ownership, launching a secondary market and launching many new products, including REITs and derivatives,” he added.

“On the stock exchange, size matters.”

Tadaul in Saudi Arabia is the largest exchange in the region by market capitalization.

Crypto ‘Cowboy’

ADGM itself is positioning itself as a cryptocurrency hub. The UAE government was an early adopter of blockchain technology, with the goal of converting 50% of government transactions into blockchain platforms by 2021.

“I think eventually, cryptocurrencies will be more mainstream,” Coutts said, adding that the ADGM is advising a cautious approach to space. “I think the role that ADGM should play is not to lead, but to define a framework and encourage innovation, but at the same time prudent.”

ADGM launched the region’s first crypto asset regulatory framework in 2018 to try to address risks related to crypto asset activities, such as anti-money laundering initiatives.

“You don’t want to be so outspoken, that you encourage cowboys to come, who end up cheating with people.

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