Gulf jurisdictions flex VC muscles and attract inflows of wealth

We discuss trends with Apex Fund Services in the Gulf region in jurisdictions such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, among others.

Geopolitics and the pandemic have not been kind to some jurisdictions. But for those who seem to have pulled themselves together on vaccines and proven to be stable places to do business, recent years have seen improvement.

High net worth individuals are taking notice of Dubai and the Gulf, which is clearly good news for what has at times been a volatile real estate market in the Gulf region. The signing in 2020 of Abraham’s agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel was a boost for both jurisdictions (see an interview here with Citi Private Bank). Openness to capital inflows is a clear theme: the UAE recently implemented a legislative change that allows 100% foreign ownership of some onshore companies. And many banks and wealth organizations are eager to tap into this market. Banks such as DBS of Singapore, EFG International listed in Switzerland, Union Bancaire Privée and Standard Chartered have strengthened or started operations in the jurisdiction. And, as this news service noted through its rewards program, businesses impacting the region also include Asiaciti Trust; BNP Paribas Wealth Management, Liechtensteinische Landesbank and M / HQ, among others.

An important part of a successful wealth management center is a regime that allows funds and other wealth structures to be set up, managed, reported and distributed. One company operating in the space is Apex Fund Services, which offers financial solutions, fund solutions, and enterprise solutions. the company was launched into the global Abu Dhabi market about three years ago, rolling out various services from ADGM alongside what it does in Dubai.

This information service recently spoke to Glyn Gibbs, who joined the firm in October 2015 and has been based in Dubai since 2008. He has 40 years of industry experience in corporate and institutional roles in the sector. asset management industry. We asked Gibbs what kind of trends he sees unfolding.

“Over the past 18 months we’ve seen an increase in venture capital. Mainly, we have a lot of digital setups that can offer attractive returns. DIFC in Dubai and ADGM [Abu Dhabi
Global Market] present themselves as the ideal domicile for these types of funds.

Gibbs noted, for example, that ADGM reduces the amount of capital that promoters of venture capital funds must hold compared to those launching other types of funds with additional support from both Abu Dhabi Catalyst Partners, which invests in ADGM-based managers and funds that pass its due diligence review, and ADIO which can contribute to a manager’s investment expenses if their criteria are met.

Another trend seen in the region, said Gibbs, is the updating / establishment of home regulations regarding vehicles that can be used by families as part of their estate planning.

He said Bahrain, for example, has updated its trust laws while ADGM and DIFC have introduced foundations for families.

“With limited heavy industry, the financial sector remains very important for the success of regional economies in attracting new businesses, so competition between these financial jurisdictions stimulates prudent regulatory innovation which is good for businesses and investors,” a- he continued.

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