Abu Dhabi appoints board for new financial free zone

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Ahmed Ali al-Sayegh

Ahmed Ali al-Sayegh

Abu Dhabi named a chairman and the board for a new financial free zone it hopes will attract top global banks and financial firms when it launches in the fourth quarter.

The oil-rich emirate outlined plans in May for the zone on an island near its downtown area that will have its own administration, court system and tax incentives.

The zone is seen as a challenge to neighbouring city state Dubai, which has prospered as the top financial centre in the region for nearly a decade.

Ahmed Ali al-Sayegh, chairman of green energy firm Masdar, chief executive of state-owned Dolphin Energy and the deputy chairman of Abu Dhabi Media, was named chairman of the Global Marketplace Abu Dhabi (GMAD).

The board includes Mohammed Darwish Mohamed al Khouri, a board member of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and executive director of internal equities at Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds.

Other members include Ali Majid Mubarak al-Mansouri, chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports Authority, Ibrahim Obeid al-Zaabi, deputy chief executive for issuance and legal affairs at market regulator Securities & Commodities Authority (SCA), and Mohammad Naim Al Qubaisi, a director at the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi.

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