The Abu Dhabi Global Market (the ADGM) and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (the DED) have recently announced a dual licensing regime for entities established in the ADGM. This is a significant development which enhances the ease of doing business from the ADGM.

Under the new regime, certain entities holding ADGM commercial licences will be eligible for mutual licence recognition with the DED provided that they satisfy and fulfil the respective licensing requirements of each jurisdiction and operate according to their respective rules and regulations. This means that eligible ADGM entities will be permitted to service businesses in onshore Abu Dhabi without having an office presence on the mainland.

ADGM entities providing financial services to customers in onshore Abu Dhabi will remain subject to any other relevant regulatory obligations and applicable laws which may be imposed on the mainland by the Federal regulators (such as the UAE Central Bank).

The announcement comes after a Memorandum of Understanding entered into between the ADGM and DED in 2015. The dual licensing regime aims to encourage business activity from the ADGM into onshore Abu Dhabi, and increase the competitiveness of the ADGM and Abu Dhabi as business centres in the region.