SPRINGBOARD TO THE WORLD

Abu Dhabi 2017 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rashed A. Al Blooshi, Chief Executive of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), on the powers of blockchain technology, strengthening bankruptcy law, and enhancing Abu Dhabi's position as a global finance hub.

Rashed A. Al Blooshi
BIOGRAPHY
Rashed A. Al Blooshi joined Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) in April 2000, where he played an instrumental role in the establishment of the market in November 2000. Al Blooshi started his career at ADX as manager of the Clearing, Settlement, Depositary, & Registry (CSD) Department. In 2007 he became deputy chief executive and was promoted to chief executive in 2012. Prior to joining ADX, Al Blooshi was head of the Registrar & Depository at the Abu Dhabi Free Zone Authority. Al Blooshi has an MBA from UAE University and a bachelor of science in computer information systems from Benedict College, Columbia, South Carolina.

What was on top of ADXs agenda during 2016 and how much progress did the company make in its drive to become a more technology-driven bourse?

Our main strategy has always been to be the market of choice in the region. One of our biggest achievements in 2016 was enabling the blockchain mechanism through our e-voting services, which has been highly successful. ADX was able to build its own e-voting platform to provide more efficient services for our stakeholders, while guaranteeing secure access to the most technologically advanced forms of trading. The objective for 2017 is to make this platform even bigger and expand it to other services in the exchange. We have built a kind of two-way communication into our website, so we can receive information from our clients and send information back to them.

How is new technology changing the market, and how do companies and SMEs operate in the trading markets?

These technological advances have established ADX as a benchmark model for the development of other stock exchanges across the region. The blockchain mechanism is a highly developed tool that has not been used in any other MENA market, and we are happy to share our expertise with other markets. The ultimate goal for a bourse working with an SME is to make it grow and help it go public; once they do so, they need mentoring, support platforms, and to develop investor relationships that make their growth sustainable. Along with our stakeholders we are working to provide them with the full range of services.

How will the partnerships between ADX and ADGM foster knowledge transfers between both institutions?

ADGM has a unique role to play in attracting international players to Abu Dhabi, and that is a major accomplishment. To that effect, we recently signed an MoU with ADGM to foster bilateral cooperation. The MoU is in line with ADX's commitment to the growth of the financial services sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and the development of a sustainable financial environment under the auspices of Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, while also establishing a framework that strengthens the bilateral cooperation between ADX and ADGM. Through the MoU, ADX and ADGM can jointly explore and develop financial products and services that will further boost the economic growth and investment sector of Abu Dhabi.

What impact will the Bankruptcy Law have on the financial markets and what are the clearest benefits you see at this stage?

Whether institutional, individual, local, or international, any investor that wants to invest in a place or platform is looking for security, transparency, good governance, and well-connected rules and regulations. They want to know that if they invest they will be treated fairly when it comes to risk. This is where the Bankruptcy Law strengthens the market. The more you put into this area of law, the more you adhere to international standards, and the more attractive you are for global investors. We have to speak the same language, use the same mechanisms, and play by the same rules and standards that other countries do. The Bankruptcy Law is yet another asset we have placed in our basket, and it will encourage a larger number of investors into the UAE.

Abu Dhabi's vision is to become a global hub for finance. What steps should the Emirate stake to bolster that ambition?

Abu Dhabi's profile has increased substantially over the past few years. What we need to do is continue developing our infrastructure and rules and regulations, as well as promote our strengths. The UAE offers the best platform for Asian businesses trying to access African markets and for African businesses trying to distribute their production in Europe, not to mention for European investors trying to get into both those markets. What we need to do is promote these assets and connect all the players around the globe and strengthen our position as a focal point for finance. Abu Dhabi holds all the potential to be a trusted partner in this regard.