First fund launched in Abu Dhabi's new finance zone

ADGM squareEshara Capital, a specialist investment firm focusing on the Gulf region, has launched what it says is the first fund to be managed out of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, a financial free zone established in 2013. The firm says the fund, which will invest in equities in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, will benefit from a recovery of the oil price and the privatisation of Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil company. Richard Teng, chief executive of the free zone's regulator, said he was happy Eshara Capital had chosen the Abu Dhabi zone for its fund and said the firm "has other exciting initiatives in the pipeline". Although it is located onshore in the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Global Market has its own laws, which, among other things, allow foreigners to be sole owners of companies based there. UAE laws typically require an Emirati citizen to be the majority owner of a company. The centre was established under the same federal decree that gave rise to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which is home to more than 1,000 licensed companies. Although some have questioned the need for a second financial free zone in the same country as the DIFC, Steve Barnett, strategy and business planning director at the Abu Dhabi zone, said in an interview last year that there is room for both centres. Taking its name from the Arabic word for "signal", Eshara Capital is a reference to a ship, the British Signal, which in 1962 carried the first oil exported by Abu Dhabi. The company's founder, Alex Guy, is the grandson of the ship's captain. ©2016 funds global mena

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