by David Manson, Country Head UK, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the UK’s largest civil export market in the Middle East and the 12th biggest globally (UKTI, Dec 2015). Bilateral trade is now heading for GBP15bn per annum with an annual GDP growth rate averaging 4.76% since 2000. There are presently some highly visible opportunities in transport, infrastructure and engineering (and their respective supply chains) as the UAE continues to develop regional and global communication hubs, whilst opportunities exist to a raft of British and European exporters in many industries, including a rich seam of service and professional industries as the UAE develops a dynamic tertiary sector.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) has typified this growth story in building out and developing the UAE economy in partnership with a broad range of clients, and has been increasingly focused on the new opportunities afforded to international investors into the Emirates. This growth has manifested itself initially in increasing volumes of international transactions for its UAE clients, but increasingly to more physical investment in joint ventures and subsidiaries being established onshore which we have facilitated. This opportunity has become all the more significant as it coincides with many regional and international banks reducing capability in the Middle East region, redeploying capital in core businesses (or to meet regulation) and opting instead to support their clients through institutional partnerships. ADCB has made the strategic decision to extend our relationships with these clients (often via their primary banks) and to support them more directly.
ADCB recognised the trend towards international banks reducing capacity in the region some years ago, and moved to establish a series of strong banking partnerships and alliances to deliver full service UAE banking to many of the world’s major banks, and specifically to their clients. The establishment of representative offices in London and Singapore further supports this approach. ADCB seeks to provide a brand presence to these significant investor markets, and to complement and support these clients – and their banks - without duplicating or competing with ‘home market’ providers. In turn, these major banks can increasingly depend on ADCB’s own home market strengths, delivered in partnership and offering a full suite of products and services which would be expensive and inefficient for overseas providers to seek to replicate. In short, we aim to create a connected, ‘best of both worlds’ proposition which best meets the needs of our mutual international client.