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The financial market in the UAE has seen increased regulation and supervision from the Central Bank leading to greater intervention.

Following on from regulations governing accounts, car loans, credit cards and personal loans, new regulations on home finance were introduced by the Central Bank late in 2013 (including the much debated loan to value ratio). It is likely that the Central Bank will continue to review existing practices and 2014 will see further regulation of the market.

Although drafts of a proposed Banking Law (including a partial move to a twin peaks regulatory system), Bankruptcy Law and a Secured Transactions Law have been in circulation, it is not yet clear if or when such laws will be enacted. The new Companies Law has however been approved and is awaiting publication in the Official Gazette.  One interesting feature of the Companies Law has been the change to allow pledging of quota (shares) in LLC companies which should assist lenders obtain security in the numerous UAE operating companies.

The much anticipated Abu Dhabi Global Market has moved closer to realization with the issue of necessary enabling legislation. It is not however clear yet when the centre will be formally launched.

2014 should see lending policies and practices evolve in the UAE, in part due to the development of the direct debit system and credit bureau. The local bond market is also likely to see increased activity, with the possible creation of a local bond market together with a focus on sukuk (including new tailored legislation).