ADGM appoints chairman and three senior regulators to oversee standards

Abu Dhabi Global Market, the capital’s new investment free zone, has appointed four senior regulators from Australia, the UK, India and China to oversee regulatory decisions.

The new regulatory committee will be chaired by the Australian lawyer and former chairman of the International Organization of Securities Commissions, Jane Diplock.

It will also include the former general counsel to the UK financial regulator Andrew Whittaker, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Chandrashekhar Bhaskar Bhave and former deputy director of international affairs at China Securities Regulatory Commission Xiaodong Tang.

The committee will be tasked with supporting the independence, integrity and procedural fairness of the free zone’s regulatory arm, the Financial Ser­vices Regulatory Authority.

ADGM said that the committee would “provide an independent review of a wide range of administrative decisions made by the regulator and … in some cases, consider and determine executive decisions referred to it by the FSRA”.

Abu Dhabi Global Market, which is based on the capital’s Al Maryah Island, awarded its first full financial licence to Afkar Capital, an incubator for asset management fund start-ups on Monday, after the financial centre opened for business in October.

Afkar is likely to be the first of many debutants at ADGM’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, which has already admitted 17 non-financial licensees.

The free zone, which is regarded as Abu Dhabi’s answer to Dubai’s DIFC, will focus initially on private banking and wealth and asset management, but has been designed to accommodate the full spectrum of the financial services industry.

“The regulatory committee is an extension of ADGM’s commitment to advocating and upholding the highest level of international regulatory standards and governance practice at ADGM,” said Ahmed Al Sayegh, the chairman of ADGM.

Ms Diplock is best known for her role as chairwoman of the now-disbanded Securities Commission of New Zealand between 2001 and 2011, where she was credited with strengthening confidence in New Zealand’s capital markets overseas but criticised for the commission’s handling of the collapse of a number of finance companies and overspending.

ADGM is regarded as an essential element of Abu Dhabi’s long-term strategy of economic diversification, as set out in the Economic Vision 2030.

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