Abu Dhabi stepped up its rivalry with Dubai to be the financial hub of the Middle East and diversify from oil production on Wednesday.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) — a financial zone in the emirate — announced that two international institutions, Macquarie Capital and Aberdeen Asset Management, would base their hubs for the Middle East and North Africa there, rather than the longer-established Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
The ADGM went live in October and is an attempt to imitate the success of its equivalent in Dubai, which has attracted some of the biggest names in finance over the past decade and positioned itself as a gateway between East and West.
Reasons why institutions should locate in Abu Dhabi include its political stability and security, world-class infrastructure and growing middle class, Richard Teng, CEO of the financial services regulatory authority at ADGM, said on Wednesday.
"Abu Dhabi is a natural place for international institutions," Teng told CNBC from the emirate's Global Financial Markets Forum.
The former chief regulatory officer of the Singapore Exchange joined ADGM in March 2015, with a remit to recreate the regulatory framework that made DIFC appeal to international investors.
Teng said ADGM could complement the success of DIFC, drawing parallels with the rise of successive hubs in Asia.
"All these centers will coexist and complement each other and in this region there is a lot more need for financial intermediation," he told CNBC.