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Sun 26 Jul 2009 10:51 PM

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Abu Dhabi talked up by ADX CEO

Official says Abu Dhabi has plenty to offer, but would benefit from a higher profile as a financial centre.

As an emerging market with considerable financial resources, Abu Dhabi has plenty to offer investors, but the emirate would benefit from a higher profile within the world's major financial centres, according to Tom Healy, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX).In an interview with research and consultancy firm Oxford Business Group, reported on Sunday by news agency WAM, Healy said Abu Dhabi's strong fundamentals ensured the country was a sound investment option, particularly for large foreign institutions looking for high growth in emerging markets.

He added that many observers believed these strong fundamentals would help the ADX recover quickly when world markets begin to pick up, which should bring in the investors who were exploring emerging markets before the downturn.

"Prior to the global financial crisis, many international investors were searching for alternative investments and in doing so, increasingly looked towards emerging markets," he said.

"The emirate's history is therefore very strong, but the level of awareness in many of the major financial centres, such as London or New York, is not as high as we would like it to be."

The full interview will feature in The Report: Abu Dhabi 2009, soon to be published by OBG.

The report was compiled following some two hundred interviews with leading political and economic figures in Abu Dhabi.

Healy acknowledged that it was proving difficult to persuade listed companies in the region to open up to foreign investment, due to the fact that investors from abroad have been blamed for the fall in the Gulf's stock markets.

He describes this as unfortunate, saying the viewpoint stems from a ''misunderstanding of the root causes of the global financial downturn.''

"I believe the main reason for the drop in these markets was the lack of banking liquidity, when, for a time, the stock exchange was the only source of cash for investors in immediate need," he noted.

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