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Intertrust Group’s UAE office granted ADGM license

28 January 2021

Patricia ‘t Hart-van Rooijen

Managing Director UAE

Patricia ‘t Hart-van Rooijen

Managing Director UAE

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From the end of this month, Intertrust Group will be fully equipped to help clients accelerate the possible in one of the UAE’s most exciting and forward-thinking jurisdictions.

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is an award-winning international financial centre, strategically located in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Established in 2015 by UAE Federal Decree, ADGM’s jurisdiction extends across the entire 114 hectares of Al Maryah Island.

Since opening, ADGM has rapidly gained global recognition for its robust, progressive and responsive business-friendly ecosystem. We’re delighted to have now further expanded our presence and service offering in ADGM, which will help us to deliver more value to our clients in the region and accelerate the possible. We spoke with Patricia ‘t Hart-van Rooijen, Managing Director, Intertrust Group’s UAE office, to get more detail.

Q: Why did you apply for an ADGM license?

“A natural sequence of events has led us to this point. We have been active in the MENA region for a good 17 years  and established our presence in the Dubai International Financial Centre in 2011; we’re now a successful corporate service provider, helping non-regulated entities set up their business through directorships, accounting services and so on. In 2018 we expanded our corporate services offering to include ADGM SPVs, limited companies and the Foundations.

“We were always keen to spread further into the full Intertrust Group service offering and saw demand in the market for fund administration and private wealth services. Our aim is to be a one-stop shop for clients operating in the thriving Middle East region.

“We chose ADGM because of the significant push it’s giving for regulated services and to help our clients on the ground with their outbound activities. The license now allows us to also provide trust services and fund administration in the UAE.”

Q: What does it mean for our clients and prospects? 

“The license enables us to service all of our clients’ needs and support their growth on a much wider level. We can now go beyond providing corporate services and offer fund administration services to ambitious companies looking to tap into the capital market.

“The ADGM funds framework balances a business-friendly environment for industry practitioners whilst still retaining the appropriate levels of investor protection. We have the right local expertise to help fund managers establish a comprehensive selection of funds to distribute across the UAE but also other jurisdictions, such as the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg.

“In our Private Wealth Middle East survey, the results of which were released last year, we asked business partners for their views on wealth structuring in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the rise of families with a global mindset and succession planning. In relation to ADGM, and specifically the new Foundation Laws, we found that 60% of respondents believed ADGM Foundation Law would grow in popularity and 21% described ADGM Foundations Law as successful.

“Furthermore, ADGM released their annual report in September 2020. There are now:

  • Over 2,932 entities registered under ADGM
  • $33bn total assets under management
  • 116 partnership agreements signed between ADGM and leading financial jurisdictions around the world
  • 32 MoU’s in 18 different countries signed between ADGM and global financial regulators
  • More than 340 solutions provided by the ADGM Registration Authority’s Access ADGM platform

“It is clear from these figures that the region is growing both in terms of local and international expertise and revenue growth. This is why the ADGM office is so important.”

Q: What USPs does it give us in terms of generating overseas interest in the region?

“ADGM is a fairly new regime and there are still only a few players in the market. Now, we can help to give our clients a seat at the table. And the UAE is an attractive region; Abu Dhabi is perfectly placed to take advantage of local and regional investment and asset management opportunities, because it’s home to some of the largest sovereign wealth funds in the world. One major attraction is of course that it is modelled on English Common law.

“Interestingly, ADGM is also predicted to become one of the world’s leading fintech jurisdictions, with a flourishing ecosystem and a very active regulatory sandbox. So, clients and prospects who are exploring the prospects of tech-led businesses in the aftermath of the pandemic should be sure to take a look.”

Q: Finally, what can you tell us about timings and next steps?

“I’m very pleased to say that, in principle, we’ve received approval for the ADGM license. We aim to be up and running very shortly. If you’d like to learn more, please get in touch with your Intertrust Group relationship manager.”