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The recovery of 2013 will gather pace in 2014

By Hamed Ali Published on 02-Feb-2014

If 2013 was a year when the UAE’s capital markets staged a strong recovery, I believe 2014 will show that it was built on solid foundations. Activity will gather pace and opportunities will grow.

This positive outlook is supported by two main developments. One is the nation’s rapid economic growth, which is creating an urgent need for companies to raise capital. The other is the expanding efficiency and depth of the capital markets themselves, which are creating an increasingly attractive framework for issuers and investors alike.

The UAE’s success in winning Expo2020, announced in late 2013, capped a year of sustained expansion in sectors ranging from property to tourism and transport to trade. Dubai Chamber expects the Emirate’s GDP to expand by 5% in 2013 and at the same rate this year.

Against this dynamic backdrop, those of us involved in the capital markets have a responsibility to match or exceed other national sectors in the way we improve and develop our services. I believe we can claim some successes in 2013, reflected in the upgrade of the UAE to Emerging Markets status announced in June by MSCI.

At NASDAQ Dubai , the enhancements we have made to our listing infrastructure – notably streamlining the listing process, to make it highly competitive with other international markets in terms of timing and documentation - paid dividends in 2013. We attracted 10 new Sukuk issues to the exchange with a total value of 6.1 billion dollars, promoting Dubai into third place internationally for listed value of Sukuk, at 13.3 billion dollars.

It was gratifying that NASDAQ Dubai was in this way able to play a part in the landmark initiative, announced in January 2013 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to build the Emirate into the centre of the Islamic economy globally.

Looking at the industries in which those Sukuk issuers are active, it was also a pleasure to see that the exchange is supporting many of the very same sectors, such as finance, transport, property and education, that are leading the UAE’s growth. An exchange’s function, after all, is to help to promote economic development and wealth creation, and this is exactly what we are doing.

NASDAQ Dubai was also delighted to welcome the equity listing of Bank of London and The Middle East, Europe’s largest Islamic bank, in October 2013. We see this as a harbinger of many more share listings to come.

As well as expanding its existing asset classes, NASDAQ Dubai looks forward to announcing a variety of initiatives that will attract more market participants in the region and beyond. These will include listing new types of security that will be a first for the region, as well as developing other innovative services. We are in for an exciting ride.

About the author

Hamed Ali
Chief Executive Officer, Nasdaq Dubai
Hamed Ali

Mr Ali was appointed Chief Executive Officer in July 2013, after serving as Acting Chief Executive Officer since August 2012. He previously served as Executive Director of Nasdaq Dubai from 2006 to 2008. His experience includes serving as Chief Operating Officer of DIFC Authority and most recently as Executive Director at the Dubai Knowledge & Human Development Authority.

Mr Ali played a key role in the development of the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 and participated in number of strategy development exercises. These included Nasdaq Dubai’s strategy in 2006 where he had the role of overseeing the implementation of the Market of Markets strategy expanding the exchange’s activities beyond the equity and debt markets into derivatives and other sectors.

Mr Ali holds an Executive MBA from London Business School, a B.Sc. in Applied Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University, and a Master Certificate in Project Management.

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