By Andy Sambidge
Sowwah Square renamed Abu Dhabi Global Market Square after new financial free zone inks headquarters agreement
Abu Dhabi's new financial free zone said on Sunday it has signed a 50-year lease with Mubadala Development Company to make the Financial Building on Al Maryah Island its headquarters.
The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is to be launched this year as the emirate diversifies its economy beyond oil and gas, while expanding its footprint in the Gulf's competitive financial services industry.
The move to the building, owned by Mubadala subsidiary Al Sowah Square Properties, is part of an agreement which will see Sowwah Square on Al Maryah Island renamed Abu Dhabi Global Market Square and the Financial Building renamed Abu Dhabi Global Market Building.
The building sits at the centre of four international Grade A commercial towers adjacent to Rosewood Abu Dhabi hotel and The Galleria. ADGM said it will lease the entire building, and their headquarters will house its Financial Services Regulations Bureau, its Registration Bureau and its Courts.
ADGM said it will be a key catalyst for the next phase of growth of the financial services sector in Abu Dhabi and the UAE and will be responsible for establishing a legal jurisdiction, registering entities who will trade in the free zone and regulating all financial services activity on the island in line with international standards.
Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, chairman of ADGM, said: "ADGM's headquarters is an iconic building, at the heart of our jurisdiction and will be a landmark for generations to come.
"The signing of this lease represents a key milestone in the development of our physical premises that will home our three core entities that will enable ADGM to become a leading financial centre in the heart of our capital city."
Ali Eid AlMheiri, executive director of real estate and infrastructure at Mubadala, added: "Like New York's Financial District or The City in London, ADGM will become the very heart of Abu Dhabi's expanding financial services industry. This represents a major milestone in the progress to make Al Maryah Island a vibrant and compelling destination, not only for financial institutions but also for first class retail, leisure and residential facilities."
Earlier this month, ADGM said it plans to base its rules on English common law, in a decision that could reduce costs and help the emirate develop stronger banking and securities market ties with neighbouring Dubai.
The ADGM will have its own administration, court system and tax incentives to attract banks and companies from around the world. On Wednesday, it published draft legislation covering its operations and asked for public comment by February 5.