DUBAI, 9th January, 2023 (WAM) — Arif Amiri, CEO of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority, affirmed that the centre has become a major engine for economic growth in Dubai and the UAE, with its contribution of about 5 percent of the value of the nominal GDP of the emirate of Dubai.
In an interview with the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Amiri said that the centre is the largest in wealth and asset management in the region, with more than 250 companies managing assets worth more than US$450 billion and more than 100 international funds operating locally.
According to estimates, the contribution of financial companies operating from DIFC to the financial services sector in the country exceeds 13 percent of the nominal GDP of the emirate of Dubai during the year 2021, he added.
He stated that the centre is currently one of the most prominent financial centres in the world and the leading financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, which includes more than 72 countries with a population of approximately 3 billion people, and an estimated gross domestic product of US$8 trillion.
Amiri pointed out that the centre maintained its leading position among global financial centres, as Dubai ranked first in the Middle East and among the top 20 globally on the Global Financial Centres Index for 2022, stressing that DIFC is one of the most advanced financial centres in the world, in addition to being the largest financial system in the region.
He added that among the 4,031 companies registered in DIFC, the centre hosts 17 of the top 20 banks in the world, 25 of the 30 most important banks of systemic importance globally, 5 of the top 10 insurance companies, and 5 of the top 10 asset management companies, and many other leading law and consulting companies at the global level.
Amiri stated that DIFC enjoys a pioneering operating environment and legal and regulatory frameworks that are in line with the best international standards, in addition to the abundance of innovative offers and the depth of its administrative system, which contributed to the success of the centre in attracting 1252 related companies specialised in finance and innovation, while the first six months of last year witnessed an increase in the number of financial technology companies and innovation companies registered in the centre to 599 companies, a year-on-year increase by 23 percent.
He also pointed out that the centre’s strategic location helps wealth and asset managers access emerging wealth in the fast-growing markets in the MEASA region.
The CEO of DIFC Authority said that the centre will continue its leading role in defining the parameters of the sector by launching initiatives that are consistent with its strategy for the year 2030, which contribute to attracting new business and talents to the centre’s exceptional system at an unprecedented pace.
He asserted that the centre’s successes were based on several factors, including the launch of financial technology and innovation initiatives; developing laws and regulatory frameworks; and striving to create influential and effective economic thought patterns with counterparts from other financial centres around the world.
Amiri explained that DIFC contributed to highlighting the promising investment opportunities in Dubai by organising successful tours and promotions in the United States of America, which witnessed the attendance of senior executives of more than 100 leading American financial services and technology companies. In addition, the centre’s promotional tour in Türkiye included holding a series of strategic meetings with key customers and partners in Istanbul.
At the level of the Middle East region, he said that DIFC organised a promotional tour in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, attended by 89 companies and entrepreneurs, to review the role of the emirate of Dubai and the centre in providing support and assistance to family businesses to improve their institutional and financial system and seize available opportunities to employ and adopt modern digital technologies.
Amiri explained that in addition to supporting new clients, DIFC cooperates with its existing clients to seize more opportunities in the region. “The past year witnessed a number of clients seeking to upgrade their work licences at the centre, including Societe Generale Bank and Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait,” he added.
The CEO of DIFC Authority stressed that the centre introduced and updated the laws and regulations in force, with the aim of strengthening its leading position, as it included incorporating amendments to the data protection law to ensure that its regulatory framework is compatible with the best international practices adopted.
Asked about the most prominent international companies and institutions that have recently joined DIFC, Amiri said that the list of new clients included Tarabut Gateway, the first UAE-based platform fully authorised by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) for Open Finance activities; KMMRCE Holdings, a leading Dubai-based digital-first technology provider; Oneglobal Broking, specialist international broking company; ADIB Capital for Wealth and Asset Management; as well as Rapyd, which started operating in accordance with the laws and regulations in force in the country.
Amiri pointed out that DIFC signed a number of agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) last year, including the MoU signed with the UAE Central Bank in support of the efforts to develop and expand the financial technology sector in the country, in addition to the Open Finance Lab initiative, the first of its kind in the region, as well as the signing of the “India-UAE Startup Bridge” agreement.
He also added that the “Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Coding licence” was also launched to encourage more companies to establish a presence in DIFC.