The Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) has become the first exchange in the Middle East to receive an international standards organisation (ISO) certification, a move that will help it attract more investors, according to Rashed al-Baloushi, deputy chief executive and director of operations at ADX.

“It is a positive sign to investors, but it is only a small part of a bigger picture,” says Al-Baloushi.

From January 2011 until the end of April, 550 new foreign investors opened an account with ADX and net position of foreign investors amounted to AED155m ($42m).

“The market is very sensitive to crises, but even then we have noticed growth, foreign investors are buying more,” says Al-Baloushi.

UAE’s economy grew by 3.2 per cent in 2010 and it is set to grow by 3.3 per cent this year according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Al-Baloushi predicts further growth for 2012, which will add value to ADX.

ADX currently has 887 investors. There have been three initial public offerings since the beginning of 2011, a trend that Al-Baloushi hopes will continue. “This is a very positive signal, companies are seeing the potential to go public, which will generate more liquidity to secondary markets,” he says.