Abraaj collapse may spur oversight changes, says Dubai regulator

The Dubai Financial Services Authority is the regulator for firms within the DIFC business zone. (Shutterstock)
Updated 03 March 2019

Abraaj collapse may spur oversight changes, says Dubai regulator

  • Fall of private equity group to influence ‘thinking on corporate governance’

DUBAI: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) could make changes to its oversight procedures following last year’s collapse of private equity group Abraaj, its chief executive said in a report published on Sunday.

Dubai-based Abraaj was the largest buyout fund in the Middle East and North Africa until it collapsed last year in the aftermath of a row with investors, including the Gates Foundation, over a $1 billion health care fund.

“The collapse of this firm will influence our thinking on corporate governance, on the allocation of responsibilities among the senior management of firms, and on the best way to assign responsibility for compliance within regulated firms,” DFSA Chief Executive Bryan Stirewalt said in the report.

Abraaj filed for provisional liquidation in the Cayman Islands last year. One of Abraaj’s entities was licensed by the DFSA.

If “the DFSA concludes, following our investigations, that there are lessons to be learned, we will take steps to strengthen our supervisory oversight,” Stirewalt said.

“We will also be reviewing our risk-based approach to supervision to ensure that it properly captures some of the features of the particular case.”

Last August the DFSA stopped Abraaj Capital Limited (ACL) from taking on new business or moving money to Abraaj Investment Management (AIML) as part of an investigation into the group. 

In Sunday’s report, Stirewalt said “the DFSA has for some time been investigating a range of matters in relation to ACL.”

He said the DFSA had taken regulatory action and had assisted liquidators but that it did not regulate Abraaj Holdings, AIML, or Abraaj’s private equity funds, because they were domiciled in the Cayman Islands.

“We will examine whether our regime addresses correctly the situation where firms locate legal entities providing services to each other in different locations, which can complicate supervision,” Stirewalt said.


Saudi Aramco appoints Mark Weinberger to Board of Directors

Updated 05 April 2020

Saudi Aramco appoints Mark Weinberger to Board of Directors

  • Weinberger, who replaces Andrew Gould, also serves as a director on the boards of Johnson & Johnson and Metlife
  • Weinberger was an active member of the US government, having worked across different administrations

DUBAI: Oil giant Saudi Aramco has appointed the former chairman of global firm EY (previously known as Ernst & Young) Mark Weinberger as an independent member to its board of directors, the company said in a statement.

Weinberger, who replaces Andrew Gould, also serves as a director on the boards of Johnson & Johnson and Metlife.

He is a member of several boards of trustees, including the United States Council for International Business (USCIB).

“I am honored to be joining the board of Aramco at this important time in the company’s history and world events,” Weinberger said.

Weinberger was an active member of the US government, having worked across different administrations – from George W. Bush to Donald Trump.