Abu Dhabi is courting two of the biggest hedge funds from the UK, with a combined total of $95 billion in assets under management, as the emirate looks to expand its financial ecosystem.

The $65 billion hedge fund manager Marshall Wace is one of the companies that has held talks with Abu Dhabi authorities to set up an outpost in the UAE capital, according to multiple media reports.

London hedge fund Capula Investment Management is also reportedly eyeing an office in Abu Dhabi to expand operations into the emirate, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources with knowledge of the matter.

The news follows on the Abu Dhabi Global Markets reporting a 211% increase in Assets Under Management (AUM) in Q1 2024, compared to the first quarter of 2023. The international financial centre (IFC) saw an uptick in the number of fund and asset managers operating in ADGM, reaching 107, managing 137 funds, by the end of March.

London-based fund managers have been eyeing Abu Dhabi as a gateway to capitalise on the region’s growing wealth. In November, British hedge fund billionaire Chris Hohn’s TCI Fund Management Limited, a $60 billion investment firm, opened its office in the UAE capital to build “key regional relationships,” it said at the time.

"The Middle East is a vital market for the investment management industry, both from a talent and asset growth perspective, as well as a critical partner in global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and climate change," said Christopher Hohn, TCI Founder and Portfolio Manager said.

In February last year, Brevan Howard Asset Management, the UK hedge fund co-founded by billionaire Alan Howard, opened its doors in Abu Dhabi with 90 employees at its UAE outpost. The firm’s co-founder Trifon Natsis also relocated to the UAE capital last year.

In an interview with Zawya in May, the CEO of ADGM Authority, Salem Mohammed Al Darei, spoke about the IFC’s position as a growing financial capital, saying: “ADGM’s proximity to SWFs [Sovereign Wealth Funds] and deep pockets for capital in Abu Dhabi has helped build the UAE’s capital prestige and positioned itself as a conduit to Abu Dhabi’s rising economy.” 

(Writing by Bindu Rai, editing by Seban Scaria)