DUBAI / WAM
His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) said that DIFC has played a highly positive and impactful role in Dubai’s economic development and diversification.
Building on its world-class ecosystem, the centre has constantly strengthened its partnerships with leading financial institutions and attracted international players to access growth opportunities through its world-class platform.
His Highness said that DIFC’s strategy is a true reflection of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, which aims to cement Dubai’s global status as a prominent destination for innovation and investment. It is also a pivotal hub for tapping growth opportunities in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (Measa) – a region with a combined GDP of $7.7 trillion.
Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed commended the Centre for its exceptional performance and for adopting the highest international standards. “We thank all those who have contributed to strengthening DIFC’s status as one of the world’s leading financial centres. Our years of outstanding achievements further strengthen the strong confidence that DIFC’s partners from around the world have both in Dubai and the Centre. We are committed to further enhancing these partnerships as we continue to provide our growing community with an integrated platform for growth.”
DIFC announced strong growth in its community, with new companies from various parts of the world joining the Centre during the first half of 2018. The total number of active registered companies in DIFC reached 2,003 at the end of June, up eight percent from 1,853 as of December 31, 2017 and 14 percent year on year from 1,750, a growth that reflects the industry’s continued confidence in Dubai and its leadership’s vision.
The sustained growth in the number of companies undertaking business from DIFC now means that 614 companies are regulated by the DFSA, of which 493 are financial services firms. These strong results, together with the ‘International Finance Centre’ award DIFC received at the WealthBriefing European Awards 2018, reaffirm the Centre’s position as MEASA’s leading financial cluster and one of the world’s top 10 financial hubs.
Commenting on DIFC’s strong growth momentum, Essa Kazim, Chairman of DIFC Authority Board of Directors and Governor of DIFC, said, “The fundamentals of the Dubai economy, together with the robust infrastructure we have built at DIFC, continue to be the cornerstones of the sustainable growth we are delivering. Guided by the forward-looking vision of our leadership, we have built a sophisticated ecosystem that is the preferred platform for many of the world’s largest and highly respected institutions. Committed to shaping the future of financial services in the region, the Centre’s best-in-class services ensures that DIFC remains ahead of future trends and plays a pivotal role within the global financial system.”
Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of the DIFC Authority, said, “DIFC is pleased to report an impressive start to 2018. The new clients who have opened in DIFC range from FinTech start-ups who are supported by our vast ecosystem, through to global industry giants. All of these companies have chosen us as their preferred financial centre to build their MEASA business given our track record of close to 15 years, unrivalled infrastructure quality, proven legal and regulatory framework, and because they can have access to the best pool of financial talent in the region.”
“Contributing to the development of Dubai as a global investment hub has always been a key priority for DIFC, and an important component of its 2024 growth strategy. Building on this commitment, and following the economy-boosting initiatives approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, DIFC announced three new strategic initiatives in April 2018 that aim to support economic growth in Dubai and cement its global status as a competitive business destination,” Arif Amiri added.
These three initiatives focus on attracting foreign direct investment, particularly from south-east Asia, enabling Dubai Government entities to complete financial services within DIFC, and facilitating the provision of financial products through Dubai.
As part of its FDI-focused initiative, and building on the importance of the UAE in the One Belt, One Road initiative, DIFC has made further enhancements to its offering and longstanding relationships with the Chinese institutions that continue to use the Centre as their gateway to growth. These efforts were underpinned by the strategic visit of a senior delegation from China, led by Qian Keming, Vice Minister of Commerce of People’s Republic of China, to the Centre in May this year. The meeting focused on the areas of collaboration that can support the One Belt, One Road initiative and the growing interest from Chinese institutions in DIFC and its sophisticated FinTech ecosystem.
DIFC is home to the regional headquarters of China’s four largest banks in terms of total assets; Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and China Construction Bank Corporation.
Additionally, DIFC has made further enhancements to its wealth management platform earlier this year with the enactment of two new laws: the Trust Law, which provides an appropriate environment for the operation of trusts in DIFC, and the Foundations Law, a completely new regime to provide greater certainty and flexibility for private wealth management and charitable institutions in line with international best practice.