Global Marketplace Abu Dhabi - Abu Dhabi’s Financial Free Zone - Update

Publication | May 2013

It was announced on 1 May 2013, that the president of the UAE has issued a new law relating to the Global Marketplace Abu Dhabi. The announcement was made by the Executive Council and has clarified some of the initial uncertainties identified in our previous note on this issue.

The following has been clarified:

  • The name of the financial free zone will be Global Market Place Abu Dhabi or Global Marketplace. Global Marketplace will have no taxes and allow those operating within it to be 100 per cent foreign owned.
  • Global Marketplace authorities will comprise (i) the Global Marketplace Courts (ii) the Global Marketplace Registration Bureau (the regulator) and (iii) the Financial Services Regulations Bureau (the authority).
  • There will be flexibility to establish different corporate structures within Global Marketplace including companies, branches and representative offices, etc which will be licensed to carry on business in the Global Marketplace. These will be known as Global Marketplace Establishments.
  • There will also be Licensed Financial Global Marketplace Establishments which will be those companies, branches, representative offices, etc which are licensed to carry on regulated financial services in the Global Marketplace.
  • It is intended that various regulations will be passed (to be known as the Global Marketplace Regulations) such as employment regulations, companies regulations and insolvency regulations. No further details as to the content or structure of these regulations have been announced.
  • The regulator will be known as the Financial Services Regulations Bureau.
  • There will be two courts - a Court of First Instance where cases will be heard by one judge and a Court of Appeal where cases will be heard by three judges.

It is intended that Licensed Global Marketplace Establishments may carry out various activities, including:

  • Financial and banking services, including financial services activities and the provision of financial facilities and secured and unsecured short-term, medium and long-term loans.
  • Investment and private banking businesses, finance companies, wholesale and e-banking and investment management.
  • Trading and exchanging in securities, currencies, commodities, minerals and derivatives (including trading in future or immediate contracts and whether on the margin or through the sale, purchase and supply of financial options).
  • Storage, treatment and delivery of goods and metals, whether these goods or metals represented in instruments or through actual delivery and related services.
  • Monetary and financial brokerage including prime brokerage.
  • Market making through providing offers of buying and selling of currencies, commodities, metals, securities, bonds and instruments and financial derivatives.
  • Islamic finance and Islamic banking.
  • The establishment, incorporation, operation, management and marketing of assets, monies, funds, investment funds, pension and credit funds, mutual investment funds, hedge funds, investment portfolios of all kinds, asset and trust management and credit representation services and escrow accounts and relevant supporting services.
  • Custodian services.
  • Central offset settlement and depository services.
  • Project finance and the provision of capital.
  • Buying, selling and issuing shares, bonds, instruments, permissions and other securities, financial products of all kinds, currencies, commodities, metals and derivatives, including futures contracts and options.
  • Ownership, management and operation of the stock exchanges and financial markets for equities, bonds, currencies, financial instruments, securities, commodities, metals, futures and option contracts and derivatives.
  • Insurance, re-insurance and insurance brokerage, including property insurance, casualty insurance, life insurance and other types of insurance and related services.
  • Banking, financial and investment advisory services.
  • Auditing, accounting and legal services.
  • Support services, credit rating services, business information services and financial and banking activities.

We will provide further updates as more details emerge on how Global Marketplace will operate.