The Business Year

Hamed Ali CEO, Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Nasdaq Dubai

UAE - Economy

Hamed Ali

CEO, Dubai Financial Market (DFM) and Nasdaq Dubai

Bio

Hamed Ali was appointed CEO of DFM in 2021, expanding his active role at the helm of leadership, which includes also the CEO of Nasdaq Dubai since 2013. Under his leadership, Nasdaq Dubai launched equity derivatives on UAE stocks in 2016 and on Saudi stocks in 2019 and has become one of the largest exchanges in the world for sukuk listings, and the largest exchange in the Middle East for US dollar-denominated bond listings. He previously served as executive director of Nasdaq Dubai from 2006-2008. His experience includes serving as COO of DIFC Authority and most recently executive director at the Dubai Knowledge & Human Development Authority. He holds an Executive MBA from London Business School, a BSc in applied computing from Leeds Metropolitan University, and a master certificate in project management.

DFM and Nasdaq Dubai are well prepared to strengthen their role of empowering Dubai’s economic development, attracting investments, and developing a dynamic ecosystem of capital markets.

What are the priorities for DFM moving forward and maintaining the strength and health of its financial sector?

Dubai has provided an exceptional model responding to an unprecedented situation that affected various aspects of life globally. It also organized the most admirable round of the Expo. These achievements placed Dubai at the forefront of rapidly growing economies due to our leadership’s vision and ability to turn challenges into opportunities. Backed by this positive macro-economic environment, Dubai markets witnessed exceptional resilience and noticeable rebound. For instance, the DFM General Index soared 28.2% in 2021, the highest since 2013, while the total value of trading increased 10.2% to AED72.3 billion. Interestingly enough, the trading value jumped 126% to AED33.6 billion during 4Q2021, as market participants are widely welcoming the formation of Dubai Markets Supervisory Committee and announcement of strategy to develop financial markets and increase its total value to AED3 trillion and list 10 government companies. The strategic plan debuted with a strong momentum as DEWA’s IPO and listing became the biggest in UAE financial markets’ history and the second-biggest ever in the Middle East. Following DEWA, Dubai’s business park operator TECOM Group attracted tremendous local and international investor demand that further solidifies the interest and optimism in Dubai’s capital market. We are poised for a thriving era through active implementation of our product offering diversification strategy to provide our investor base of more than 900,000 from 209 countries with diversified opportunities and accessibility to several asset classes including; equities, equities futures, commodity futures, ETFs, REITs, bonds and sukuk, and so on. We focus on attracting IPOs from private and family businesses from key economic sectors and the outlook looks buoyant, considering the growing interest from countless potential issuers attracted by the robust eco-system providing various listing routes catering to companies’ size, stage of growth, incorporation type or jurisdiction. We are also focusing on enhancing market access.

How has DFM responded to the call to action on the green transition, and what strategies has it put in place going forward?

The commitment toward green finance and sustainability is embedded in DFM’s corporate culture. Since 2016, DFM is advocating best practices of ESG amongst listed companies and other stakeholders. This was crowned in 2019 with the launch of our Strategic Plan to become the region’s leading sustainable market by 2025. We encourage our issuers to expand in ESG reporting considering its growing significance amongst factors affecting investment decisions as well as educating investors on principles of responsible investment. Moreover, green products and listings are one of the key pillars of our sustainability drive. Accordingly, Nasdaq Dubai is the most prominent exchange for ESG issuances and listings in this part of the world with a total value exceeding USD16 billion from 19 bonds and sukuk listings. DFM also launched the S&P/Hawkamah UAE ESG Index, the first of its kind from financial markets in the UAE and the region, as a transparent tool that measures listed companies’ commitment to ESG.

Looking ahead, what are the main objectives for DFM over the next six to 12 months?

Our priorities are to reinforce and sustain our growth trajectory through the implementation of product offering diversification plan and listing new products from Dubai and beyond such as equities, crude oil, gold, and so on. We have accumulated a healthy pipeline of potential issuers including government-related and private entities. This includes a backlog from previous years that have not rolled into the market due to the pandemic and new issuers encouraged to tap the market, building upon our track record as an efficient fund-raising platform enabling issuers to successfully raise more than AED125 billion. We are also looking forward to enhance accessibility attracting new market participants and further engage our investor base in trading activities by providing them with numerous services and mechanisms for active trading, leverage, and hedging.

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