Abu Dhabi’s new financial freezone starts accepting licence applications

Abu Dhabi Global Market is preparing for its launch in the second half of 2015



Abu Dhabi Global Market, the UAE capital’s new international financial freezone on Al Maryah Island, has now started accepting licence applications.

Non-financial services tenants of Al Maryah Island that have either a private limited or branch office legal structure can submit applications from June 15, a statement said.

The move is the first phase in a series of activities as ADGM prepares to launch in the second half of this year.

Dhaher Bin Dhaher Almheiri, CEO of ADGM’s Registration Authority, said: “This is the first in a series of licencing phases, which will be announced in the coming months. Our primary focus at this stage is on existing Al Maryah Island tenants.

“Over the past few weeks we have reached out to them, met with them and spoken to them to ensure that they are fully aware of our activities and our service offering, that they understand the registration and licensing process and requirements and also understand the options available to them.”

All tenants who are eligible to apply during this first phase will have a 12-month grace period during which to decide and apply for an ADGM licence.

Other types of companies, including financial services institutions and those that are not currently tenants of Al Maryah Island, will be able to apply for an ADGM licence later in the year, the statement added.

The financial centre signed an MoU with the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development last month covering aspects such as the registration and protection of company names and licences, developing the process for transferring and renewing the trade licences of those companies already operating in Al Maryah Island and cooperating in the exchange of information regarding regulations, standards and business classifications.

ADGM said its enacted commercial regulations were published on June 14. Currently, an expert panel is reviewing its financial services regulations and they will be issued for open market consultation in the next few weeks.

Abu Dhabi first announced plans for the financial zone in May 2013 to help the emirate diversify away from its oil-based economy. The centre is set to have its own administration, court system and tax incentives to become a hub for global and regional banks and companies.

In its first phase, ADGM’s focus will be centred around asset management, private banking and wealth management, it said in an earlier statement.