Abu Dhabi Global Market Authorities Financial Services Regulatory Authority

ADGM Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA)

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is a financial free zone, with its own civil and commercial laws based on English common law. ADGM is an international financial centre that offers a local, regional, and international business community within a world-class legal system and regulatory regime. As one of the core pillars of ADGM, the Registrar’s main functions under companies and commercial licensing regulations include registration of ADGM establishments; registration of business names and maintenance of register; registration of post-incorporation documentation; registration of changes in business name particulars; registration of changes in directors, officers, shareholders and share capital; enforcement of ADGM companies regulations, cancellation of commercial licences, prosecution and strike off; and dissolution or restoration of ADGM establishments.


The Financial Services Regulatory authority (FSRA) itself adopts a risk-based approach to regulation rather than a self-regulatory one. It is modelled on and consistent with internationally-recognised standards. Effectively, it is similar to the UK’s Financial Services and Markets Act of 2000 (FSMA). The FSRA has a regularly-updated public register on its website that enables one to see which financial services companies are compliant with the FSRA rules and regulations. There is an ADGM FSRA register on their website, https://www.adgm.com/public-registers/fsra.


The ADGM FRSA rules are tightly bound to international regulations and, as discussed, to English common law. This incorporates, amongst other regulations, beneficial ownership, company, insolvency, and takeover regulations. FSMR contains provisions including the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (“the Regulator”) structure and powers, authorisation, recognition, market infrastructure bodies, enforcement, and information-gathering capabilities, accounting/auditing, listing and prospectuses, collective investment funds, settlement finality, disclosure of information, financial services transfers, etc. 


There is a straightforward feedback loop within the ADGM. All complaints lodged are held in confidence by the ADGM Companies Regulations 2020. However, to assess a complaint properly, ADGM may need to speak to third parties, including any person who is the subject of the complaint. 


According to its website, the FSRA has jurisdiction to deal with complaints concerning:

• Potential misconduct related to the provision of financial services in the ADGM;

• Conduct that may constitute a contravention of legislation administered by the FSRA; or

• Conduct that causes or may damage the reputation of the ADGM or the integrity of the financial services industry in the ADGM. 


Those investors wishing to make a complaint should submit it through the website, https://www.adgm.com/operating-in-adgm/additional-obligations-of-financial-services-entities/enforcement/complaints/submit-a-complaint. Alternatively, they may contact [email protected] directly. Upon receipt of the complaint, the FSRA will provide a written acknowledgement of the complaint, conduct an assessment, and provide a written final response to the original complaint. All complaints are held in confidence. 


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