Abu Dhabi hires ex-Dubai executive for its financial free zone

Jan Bladen will be executive adviser and program leader at Abu Dhabi Global Market

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Abu Dhabi’s new financial free zone has hired a former executive from neighboring Dubai’s financial center to spearhead its growth.

Jan Bladen will be executive adviser and program leader at Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), a full-service financial zone which the wealthy emirate is building on an island near its downtown area, the ADGM said in a statement on Tuesday.

From 2005 until late last year, Bladen was chief operating officer of the Dubai Financial Services Authority, which is the regulatory authority for the Dubai International Financial Centre, the Middle East’s top banking hub. He also worked as a risk manager at consultants Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Geneva.

“He is ideally suited to address our key priorities which are to develop the legal, regulatory and operational platforms that will provide the foundation for the growth of the Global Market,” said Ahmed Ali al-Sayegh, chairman of the ADGM.

In May last year Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, outlined plans for a financial zone similar to Dubai’s, with its own administration, court system and tax incentives to lure banks and companies from around the world.

Because of Abu Dhabi’s wealth, the ADGM could eventually challenge Dubai in areas such as foreign exchange trading, commodities trading and asset management.

But while the ADGM was originally due to be launched in the fourth quarter of last year, considerable development work remains to be done. Last August, Abu Dhabi appointed a chairman and a board of directors for the venture.

The financial free zone is the latest in a string of initiatives by the oil-producing emirate to diversify its economy.

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