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Dubai International Financial Centre Drives Innovation Through Landmark Agreements At Global Financial Forum 2019
(11 March 2019)
DIFC Governor announces size of wealth and asset management sector at DIFC stands at USD 424 billion


Dubai International Financial Centre, the leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region, today hosted the second edition of the Global Financial Forum, attracting 700 leading figures from across the financial services industry to hear expert insight from some of the sector’s biggest names.

The Forum took place under the theme ‘Unlocking Growth in a Changing World’, and the incredible line-up of speakers included investment guru Mark Mobius, Sir Gerry Grimstone, the former Chairman of Barclays Bank, and Nicolas Cary, co-founder of Blockchain.

Speakers also included His Excellency Essa Kazim, the Governor of DIFC. In his welcome remarks, he announced that the size of the wealth and asset management sector at Dubai International Financial Centre is now worth USD 424 billion. His Excellency also revealed that the Centre had risen from 15th to 12th on the latest Global Financial Centres Index, reflecting the record-breaking success of DIFC over the past 12 months.

His Excellency Essa Kazim said: “Over the past 15 years, DIFC has grown into what is today a focal point for the global business and investor community, and a testament to this is amount of capital being raised in the Centre. The approximate size of the wealth and asset management industry in DIFC is now USD 424 billion. To put this in context, that is equivalent to roughly 30 percent of the combined GDP of all GCC countries.

“The wealth and asset management sector is the cornerstone of a thriving financial services industry, and is playing a significant role in attracting new businesses to Dubai and driving the increasing contribution of the sector to the Emirate’s GDP, which has risen from 3% to 3.9% - a 30% increase – in the last five years. This incredible momentum is a reflection of the enhancements we have made in our ecosystem, and in laws and regulations to support growth.”
The Forum also witnessed the official appointment of Middle East Venture Partners (MEVP) and Wamda Capital to manage USD 10 million of the DIFC FinTech Fund. The fund aims to accelerate the development of financial technology in the region by investing in start-ups from incubation through to growth stage.

The Forum also witnessed the signing of a number of key agreements aimed at driving the future of finance, including an MoU with Dubai SME to help foster entrepreneurship in the UAE and further the National Innovation Agenda.

FinTech Hive at DIFC, the region's first and biggest FinTech accelerator and hub, also announced MoUs with three new FinTech hubs – FinTech Saudi, Milan’s FinTech District and FinTech Istanbul. The agreements bring the size of FinTech Hive’s network of strategic partnerships to 14 FinTech hubs in various parts of the world.

FinTech was one of the hot topics at this year’s GFF, which focused on the opportunities presented by disruptive technology, demographic shifts, new trends and a greater focus on sustainability in MEASA. It offered a chance for investors, entrepreneurs and members of the business community to learn more on the potential of these fast-growing markets and the opportunities to thrive in this fast-changing sector. Nicolas Cary, Co-Founder and Vice Chairman of Blockchain, gave an address to open a session on ‘Tomorrow’s Innovation Today: Top 10 FinTech Predictions for 2019 and Beyond’.

“Cryptocurrency is unique in that it’s the first financial system designed specifically for the internet age using distribution ledger technology,” said Mr Cary. “Now anyone with an internet connection has the ability to send, receive, secure and exchange value instantly and without an intermediary. Finance is being completely reimagined and we have yet to realise the true potential of this revolutionary money.”  

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