The Abu Dhabi Securities Market has been rebranded the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) as part of its drive to become an international bourse.
ADX Chief Executive Tom Healy said the name change would reflect the increasing diversity and sophistication of securities listed on the capital's bourse.
"We found from talking to people that sometimes the expression 'market' was causing confusion," Healy told Emirates Business.
"The market is a broader thing than just the exchange – it includes the stock brokers, the investors and so on – whereas the exchange is understood to be the body in the middle of everything, which is what we are.
"When we opted to change the name we also decided to update the branding to a more modern theme and in keeping with international standards."
The name has only been changed in English, not Arabic. The rebranding is the latest step in Healy's bid to internationalise the exchange, and although he played down the significance of the name change in terms of attracting overseas listings, he reiterated his desire for the ADX to become more of a regional player.
The ADX is awaiting regulatory approval before launching its first Exchange Traded Funds, but Healy hopes these will be operating by the end of 2008.
These mechanisms would open up the ADX to more investors, who would then be able to indirectly invest in a series of listed companies.
Healy said he envisaged the ADX being home to a range of ETFs, from those investing in the largest cap companies to sector-specific funds, while also stressing these funds may not be restricted to investing in ADX securities. However, this is one of a number of issues the UAE regulator will have to rule on before any ETFs are launched.
Another will be whether the funds will allow foreigners indirect access to stocks currently limited UAE nationals, such as etisalat.
When asked whether the ADX would now be looking to follow the Dubai Financial Market's lead by going public, Healy said no discussions had taken place, but that he understood the privatisation of Abu Dhabi Government assets was on the agenda.
In March, the Abu Dhabi exchange signed an agreement with NYSE Euronext that is hoped will lead to the creation of the Gulf's first derivatives exchange, while in April it hosted road shows in Tokyo and Singapore.