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Abu Dhabi Seizes Opportunity to Woo Britain’s Tax-Wary Rich - BLOOMBERG

JUNE 12, 2024

BY  Matthew Martin and Nishant KumarBloomberg News

Office buildings in the Abu Dhabi Global Market.

Office buildings in the Abu Dhabi Global Market. , Photographer: Natalie Naccache/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Abu Dhabi has emerged as a magnet for the world’s wealthiest people over the past few years. Their numbers may soon be boosted by Britain’s high net worth individuals seeking to shelter their assets. 

The emirate’s financial center is fielding a rush of inquiries from the UK, where the ruling Conservatives have rolled back preferential tax treatment for non-domiciled residents, people familiar with the matter said. The opposition Labour Party has pledged to go even further if they win as expected in elections scheduled for July 4.

The free-zone — Abu Dhabi Global Market — has already been working on a package of incentives, including lifestyle support and visas, to lure finance professionals, Bloomberg News has reported.

In recent weeks, representatives have held meetings in London with some of these individuals, according to the people, who declined to be named as the information is private. Abu Dhabi isn’t solely seeking to lure non-doms, and the goal has been to explain the benefits of a move to a wider swathe of Britain’s wealthy individuals, one of the people said.

“Abu Dhabi continues to attract high net worth individuals from around the globe,” a spokesperson for the free-zone said. “ADGM has developed a robust regulatory framework and ecosystem with progressive regulations based on the direct application of English Common Law, which further enhances the appeal of the UAE capital.”

The emirate’s outreach comes after UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt outlined plans to overhaul a system of preferential tax treatment for non-domiciled residents — rich foreigners living in the country, also known as non-doms. Labour’s Keir Starmer has vowed to close additional “loopholes.”

Abu Dhabi is already popular with billionaires. Many have been drawn by the city’s safeguards to ring-fence assets from foreign jurisdictions, its sovereign wealth funds that control over $1.5 trillion, as well as the United Arab Emirates’ double tax treaty network. 

The richest man in crypto Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, India’s Adani family, hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio and Russian steel magnate Vladimir Lisin are among the dozens of high net worth individuals who’ve set up special purpose vehicles there, Bloomberg News has reported. 

Other perks like a tax-free income, sunny weather and a time zone that allows workers to trade across Asian, European and US hours are also helping the city and neighboring Dubai lure people and firms from London, Hong Kong and Singapore.


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