Abu Dhabi's ADGM Sees Unprecedented Growth in 2023

Updated March 8, 2024 4 min read

Abu Dhabi's ADGM Sees Unprecedented Growth in 2023

Abu Dhabi's ADGM Sees Unprecedented Growth in 2023

Abu Dhabi's ADGM Sees Unprecedented Growth in 2023

In 2023, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) not only confirmed its position as the meteoric hub of finance in the UAE's capital but also set a new benchmark for growth and innovation in the international financial scene. Marking its eighth year of operation, ADGM emerged as a symphony of strategic success, unwavering ambition, and economic prowess. Here's a quick glimpse at some of the standout figures and names that shaped ADGM's triumphant narrative:

  • 35% Year-on-Year Growth in Assets Under Management (AUM) as of December 31, 2023.
  • 102 Asset Managers operating within ADGM, managing 141 Funds.
  • An increase to 1,825 Operational Entities, marking a 32% Growth from the previous year.
  • A significant 22% Rise in Workforce with nearly 14,000 employees.
  • Home to global financial giants such as Brevan Howard, Ardian, Goldman Sachs, and Blackstone, alongside regional powerhouses like ADQ and Gulf Capital.
  • 88 Financial Institutions and Two Exchanges received In-Principle Approvals (IPA).
  • Over 125 Firms in the pipeline awaiting registration.

Charting Unprecedented Growth

2023 was a banner year for ADGM, demonstrating unparalleled progress that built on the robust growth of 2022. The center's asset management sector, a cornerstone of its success, witnessed a substantial influx of global asset managers, propelling AUM to new heights. This surge was largely fueled by enhancements to the ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority’s (FSRA) regulatory framework, notably the Private Credit Fund framework. This initiative attracted new investments and facilitated the expansion of existing operations.

ADGM has transformed into a preferred destination for business, drawing an impressive roster of international and regional financial giants. This influx has bolstered ADGM's operational entities by 32 percent compared to 2022. The list of new entrants reads like a who's who of the finance world, with prestigious names that underscore Abu Dhabi's rising status as the "capital of capital."

Workforce Expansion and Innovation

The growth in ADGM's workforce by 22 percent is a testament to the increasing allure of Abu Dhabi as a global finance nexus. Major institutions like JP Morgan and BNP Paribas are expanding their services and teams, a move that speaks volumes about the market's confidence in ADGM's ecosystem.

Ahmed Al Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of ADGM

"A year into Abu Dhabi’s Falcon economy and a year of exceptional growth for the ADGM. When we think of these factors together, it leads us to the realisation of what consistency, persistence and alignment to economic goals can achieve. In merely eight years, we have become one of the world’s largest financial districts and the fastest-growing international financial centre in the region, for two years consecutively."

Ahmed Al Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of ADGM, reflects on the year's achievements with pride and optimism. He credits the center's success to the alignment with Abu Dhabi’s Falcon economy and the leadership’s visionary goals. This alignment, Al Zaabi notes, has not only propelled ADGM to the forefront of global finance but has also strategically positioned it for sustained growth into 2024 and beyond.

Abu Dhabi Finance Week 2023

The Abu Dhabi Finance Week (ADFW) 2023 heralded a new era in global finance gatherings, setting unprecedented benchmarks in the finance event arena. This prestigious event welcomed an astounding assembly of over 18,000 participants from across the globe, showcasing the vibrancy and diversity of the financial sector with 46 sub-events, 180 enriching sessions, and an impressive lineup of 300 speakers hailing from international, regional, and local backgrounds. Remarkably, 39 percent of these attendees were international delegates, emphasizing the event's far-reaching influence and appeal.

The ADFW stage was graced by financial luminaries such as Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan, and Ray Dalio, Founder, Co-Chairman, and Co-Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater Associates, who shared their insights on Abu Dhabi's ascent as a pivotal global finance hub. This year's event not only celebrated the ADGM's most triumphant moments but also acted as a crucible for groundbreaking market announcements. Major commitments and operational upgrades were unveiled by giants like The World Bank and JP Morgan, showcasing a potent mix of innovation spanning fintech to sustainable finance.

A testament to ADGM's magnetic allure and strategic importance, the finance week saw 23 significant market announcements, heralding new ventures and expanded operations by leading financial institutions with a cumulative AUM exceeding $450B US. Key commitments came from industry stalwarts, including the $144 billion asset manager NinetyOne, the venerable Rothschild & Co, $105 billion asset manager GQG Partners, $60 billion hedge fund TCI, and the pioneering social trading platform eToro. These announcements underscored Abu Dhabi's status as a beacon for financial excellence and innovation, firmly establishing ADFW 2023 as a landmark event in the annals of global finance.

Virtual Assets in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi's foresight in recognizing the burgeoning potential of virtual assets is setting the stage for it to become one of the world's largest hubs in this innovative financial sector. Through strategic partnerships and forward-thinking regulations, the emirate is not just participating in the virtual assets market; it's leading it. A landmark partnership with ADGM and Solana Foundation underscores the region's commitment to embedding cutting-edge blockchain technologies within its financial ecosystem. This initiative, among others, positions Abu Dhabi to be ready to navigate the future of finance with confidence and vision.

ADGM's proactive approach towards virtual assets is further explored in our pieces Virtual Assets Market and Virtual Assets: Future-Proof Finance with the UAE. These resources take a look at the comprehensive regulatory frameworks and business environment that Abu Dhabi offers for virtual assets firms and investors alike. By embracing digital currencies, tokens, and a wide array of blockchain technologies, ADGM is actively shaping the virtual assets trajectory.

The emirate's strategy to cultivate a robust virtual assets sector aligns perfectly with its broader vision for financial innovation and diversification. This alignment ensures that Abu Dhabi remains at the forefront of global finance, attracting the brightest minds and biggest players in the virtual assets space. As ADGM continues to innovate and partner with global leaders like the Solana Foundation, it cements its position as a crucial nexus for virtual assets worldwide. The combination of strategic vision, regulatory clarity, and cutting-edge partnerships underscores Abu Dhabi's ascent as a global powerhouse in the virtual assets domain, promising a future where finance transcends traditional boundaries to embrace the digital frontier fully.

Looking Ahead: A Future Framed by Success

As ADGM gears up for another milestone year, its alignment with the ADGM Growth Strategy 2023-2027 and Abu Dhabi’s broader economic diversification goals herald a future replete with opportunity, innovation, and strategic triumphs. With its eyes set firmly on the horizon, ADGM is not just participating in the global financial narrative—it's leading it.