UAE, DUBAI - Finance
CEO, NASDAQ Dubai
Hamed Ali was appointed CEO of NASDAQ Dubai in July 2013 after serving as Acting CEO since August 2013. He previously served as Executive Director of NASDAQ Dubai from 2006 to 2008. His experience includes serving as COO of the DIFC Authority, and most recently as Executive Director at the Dubai Knowledge & Human Development Authority. He has an Executive MBA from London Business School and a degree in Applied Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University.
If you look at the global financial markets, you will see international, regional, and local investors. They are all important for a company. Regional and local investors can get to know your brand, they can track your performance and products, and they can physically approach you. On the other hand, there are a number of points in favor of international investors. They bring long-term investment and often a more sophisticated approach to your company. It’s healthy if you can attract all investor types. In the Middle East, some companies have gone outside the region for an international listing, and, therefore, missed out on regional and local investors who have in turn been deprived of the opportunity to buy their shares. Other companies have listed in the region and perhaps not gained as much international investment as they hoped for. The unique platform we have created at NASDAQ Dubai provides connectivity to investors everywhere, and we are delighted that potential issuers are increasingly seeing the advantage of this.
We take an active interest in the companies and work closely with them. The listing journey consists of three important stages: preparation; the act of listing, when trading begins; and then the ongoing relationship. We ensure that a company fully understands in advance how the platform works and encourage it to ensure its governance is in good order and that it is ready to communicate effectively with investors. I believe that we’ve been very successful in that respect. It often takes companies months to prepare to go public. We make sure that they are not alone. Advisors are with them during the pre-listing phase, and we’re by their side throughout the whole listing process. We also work with these companies to ensure that they benefit from our platform for visibility purposes after listing. It is important for companies to be visible, to be seen as credible, and that anyone can access information about them and be able to assess their prospects.
Within Islamic finance, one of the main sectors is sukuk. The UAE has been among the leading countries in terms of sukuk issuances and, when it comes to US dollar-denominated sukuk, we are the main market. Given this credibility and track record, Dubai set a goal to become the global center of sukuk. In the last year and a half, NASDAQ Dubai has attracted $15 billion worth of sukuk, and we are now the world’s third-largest exchange for sukuk listings, with total value of more than $18 billion. A major reason for building critical mass in sukuk listings is that we are interested in creating liquidity through our innovative fixed-income trading platform. This is a pilot scheme that allows sukuks and bonds to be traded on-exchange. It is one of only a few markets that gives institutional investors a choice of whether they’d like to trade sukuk conventionally over the counter, or whether they’d like to do it on the exchange. In future, we will consider opening the doors to individual investors as well.
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