Abraaj CEO Arif Naqvi Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

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 healthcare fund.

“The collapse of this firm will influence our thinking on corporate governance, on the allocation of responsibilities amongst 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.