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Al Sayegh: ‘Abu Dhabi’s financial ambassadors worth over $1tr’

Abu Dhabi: The sixth annual Global Financial Markets Forum (GFMF) opened on Tuesday at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi with speeches by influential UAE policymakers and key executives, along with global speakers.

The two-day forum started with a speech by Ahmad Al Sayegh, chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Marketplace, in which he discussed establishing the emirate as a financial centre.

“A healthy financial services sector is not only identified as one of the nine pillars in the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, but as illustrated in major cities globally, it is an integral component to developing and sustaining a diversified economy,” Al Sayegh said.

He added that Abu Dhabi’s financial ambassadors such as NBAD, First Gulf Bank, and Mubadala, among others, are responsible for more than $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion) of assets.

Al Sayegh elaborated, saying that Mubadala is worth over $55 billion, while NBAD’s assets are valued at $90 billion, and First Gulf Bank’s assets at $46 billion.

In his speech, he also talked about the UAE’s bilateral relationships with other countries.

“If we look to the East, our commerce is steadily increasing. In fact, research conducted by HSBC predicted that by the year 2030, the UAE’s top export destinations will include India, China, Japan, and Korea,” Al Sayegh said.

As matters stand, India is the UAE’s largest trading partners with bilateral trade reaching an estimated $75 billion in 2013, according to Al Sayegh.

“2012 trade figures between the UAE and China, according to customs statistics, totalled $40.4 billion, with a reported 14 per cent increase in the first half of 2013. Also of significance, approximately 60 per cent of China’s trade to the UAE is then re-exported to Africa and Europe, making the UAE a critical Gulf country for this Asian powerhouse,” the chairman said.

Commenting on trade with Japan, Al Sayegh said the total annual value between both countries stands at around $51.4 billion, with hydrocarbons playing a significant role.

Additionally, Al Sayegh discussed the formation of various authorities under the umbrella of the Abu Dhabi Global Market. These include a registration bureau; a financial services regulations bureau; and its own court system.

He said there were discussions over the past four months with local and international stakeholders who provided counselling and debate over the strategic direction of the entity.

“We are providing a robust, well-regulated platform enabling member companies to transact business within a tax-free environment and with the support of an internationally-recognised legal jurisdiction. The nature of the business transacted within The Global Market will, to an extent, be dynamic, determined by its members and evolve over time,” Al Sayegh said.

He concluded his speech by assuring that the UAE has a clear opportunity to create and become leading global financial marketplace.