Abu Dhabi's planned financial zone will complement Dubai, which should benefit from a deepening of financial markets in the United Arab Emirates, a senior Abu Dhabi executive said on Sunday. "It brings complementarity to Dubai and to the region overall," Mahmood Ebraheem al Mahmood, chief executive and chairman of ADS Holding, said of Abu Dhabi's plan.

In an interview, he noted that other successful financial centres operated in close proximity, such as Tokyo and Osaka, London-Frankfurt-Zurich, and New York and Chicago. Early this month the Abu Dhabi government said it would set up a full-service financial zone on an island near the city's downtown. The zone would have its own administration and court system to attract banks and other firms from around the world. The announcement prompted speculation that because of its oil wealth, Abu Dhabi could eventually become a major competitor to the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), currently the Middle East's top financial centre. The DIFC is little more than an hour's drive from Abu Dhabi.