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The Gulf’s capital markets offer a wealth of opportunities for India

By Hamed Ali Published on 13-Jun-2013

The ancient trading and human links between India and the Gulf region grow ever stronger. There are more goods going in both directions, expanding investment flows and dynamic new business initiatives. This welcome activity is set to increase further. Yet in one sector - the capital markets - the connections between India and the GCC region have much potential that has not yet been adequately realised or even fully explored. 
We are seeing positive signs of this potential, in a number of ways. NASDAQ Dubai, the international financial exchange serving the Middle East, is receiving increasing enquiries from Indian companies that are looking for an exciting new venue to raise capital. This is no surprise, as it makes good business sense for companies wishing  to tap into regional and international investment  through an exchange that provides  both. And with a newly streamlined listing framework, and an improving economic climate in its home market, NASDAQ Dubai has been working overtime this year to handle new UAE debt listings, with more on the way.  The prospects for more equity listings from the GCC region are looking up too.

Seeing these positive developments on their doorstep, on an international exchange that offers the same advantages as a listing in London or Singapore, Indian companies are looking to NASDAQ Dubai for a number of capital-raising solutions. These range from issuing equities to bonds, exchange-traded funds and real estate investment trusts.  A senior delegation from the exchange was privileged to meet many  of these companies in April on a visit to Delhi and Mumbai , whose schedule was arranged through the help (much appreciated) of Alpen Capital and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. 
We will see what fruit these discussions bear in coming months and years. Meanwhile several Indian brokers too are taking a new look at NASDAQ Dubai, with a view to considering applying for membership. They will be more than welcome to share in the success of the exchange as it expands to cater for more investors, including many wealthy Indian investors in the GCC and those who are based in India itself.  

From its base in the Dubai International Financial Centre, which provides a world class legal system based on English law and its own international regulatory framework, NASDAQ Dubai is ideally suited to connect to overseas brokers, from India and everywhere else. Most of the world’s large investment banks are Members of the exchange already. The process for joining the market is simple and straightforward and the fee structure for brokers is competitive. NASDAQ Dubai is also the only exchange in the MENA region with direct access to the international central securities depositories Euroclear and Clearstream, which enable seamless settlement for investors globally. The exchange will provide Indian brokers with growing opportunities in dollars and other currencies as it expands its equity listings from the GCC and overseas and moves into new asset classes.  Access to the exchange is simple, through its open Financial Information eXchange (FIX) Protocol architecture.   
I am impressed by the way in which India’s own stock exchanges, driven by the energy and initiative of their brokers and other participants, have expanded in size and sophistication in recent years. NASDAQ Dubai looks forward to channelling some of that Indian enterprise into its own market, for the benefit of everyone involved.  

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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