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Dubai International Financial Centre Posts Strong Growth And Reaches Major Milestones In First Half Of 2016
(31 August 2016)
Ranked number one financial centre in the Middle East and Africa


 

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading financial hub for the US$7.8 trillion Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, today announced the successful results of its first half 2016 operating review. DIFC continually ranks highly in different international rankings and earlier this year was ranked number one in the Middle East and Africa region and number 13 globally in the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI).  This is a significant increase from last year in this ranking which looks at the competitiveness of financial centres based on 25,650 financial centre assessments. This has resulted in DIFC becoming the financial services hub of choice for the entire region. Testament to its world-class connectivity, as well as its regulatory and legal systems, significant growth and milestones have been reached on the journey towards its 2024 strategy, which will see the Centre triple in size over the course of 10 years.

Commenting on these positive results, DIFC Governor, His Excellency Essa Kazim, stated, “Dubai and DIFC serve as the gateway to the world’s fastest growing markets across the MEASA region.  This is reflected in our latest results and initiatives, which represent a major milestone in delivering on the Centre’s forward-looking 2024 strategy.”

“We continue to invest in building our world-class ecosystem, and are committed to creating an environment that enables our clients to take advantage of new opportunities that arise in the region.”

The results were characterised by developments in the following areas:

Growth in new companies and enhancing client ecosystem

DIFC reached another milestone of crossing over 1,500 firms, with 1,539[1] companies now based in the Centre. 143 new companies joined DIFC in the first half of the year alone, representing a 16% growth on this time last year.

Newly registered firms included companies taking the highest category licenses, such as HSBC, which announced moving its Middle East Headquarters and US$40 billion of assets to the Centre. The first six months also saw reputable regional banks join the DIFC, including Ahli United Bank Limited – the first GCC bank to receive a Category 1 (full branch) license – and Bank of Palestine, which set up its first overseas operation.  In other key sectors, the Centre welcomed its first Indian reinsurance firm, HDFC International Life and Re Company Limited, to its portfolio, along with leading Kuwaiti asset management firm, KAMCO Investment Company Limited, which established its first international office in DIFC.

The 1,539 active firms in the Centre are now made up of a record 425 financial services firms (an increase of 11% on this time last year), 914 non-financial firms (a 22% increase on this time last year) and 192 retailers (2% increase on this time last year), taking a further 81,300 square feet of leased space. Occupancy rates remain extremely high representing the ongoing demand for DIFC space and in retail, the new Gate Avenue at DIFC project will significantly increase the size of the Centre’s retail portfolio.

These global firms come from around the world with 33% from the Middle East region, 18% from the EU, 15% from the UK, 12% from the US, 12% from Asia and a further 10% from elsewhere in the world.

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