Dubai International Financial Centre grows 6 percent in H1, 2012

Dubai: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial and business hub connecting the region’s emerging markets with the markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas, updated the market today on its continuous positive performance throughout the first half of 2012.

Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Board of Directors of DIFC Authority commented: “The strong principles on which DIFC is founded – effective regulation and a dynamic business environment – position DIFC well to continue its development as a world financial centre. There are promising opportunities for significant expansion of DIFC both in terms of the number of companies operating here and the range of activities in which they are engaged.” DIFC has continued to strengthen its position as the international financial centre of choice in the region. As of 30 June 2012, 899 active registered companies had a presence in DIFC (FY 2011: 848 companies), with 329 regulated, 465 non-regulated companies, and 105 retailers (FY 2011: 322 regulated, 423 non-regulated, and 103 retailers). The number of employees working in DIFC stands at around 13,000.

Interest from North America and Europe continues to increase as western multinationals look to diversify their operations and expand towards the East. DIFC also witnessed sustained interest from Middle Eastern and Asian firms looking to increase their exposure to opportunities arising in Africa and the West. Today, the geographical diversity of the Centre’s total number of regulated companies reaffirms DIFC’s growing status as a global financial centre. Approximately 36% of regulated member companies come from Europe, 26% from the Middle East, 16% from North America, 11% from Asia, and 11% from the rest of the world.

In the first half of 2012, DIFC issued 90 commercial licences, representing a 41% increase in registrations from same period last year (FY 2011: 135 registrations; H1 2011: 64). The Centre welcomed 9 new regulated companies including Coutts ‘&’ Company, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions Ltd, NBAD Investment Management (DIFC) Limited, ICAP Securities Limited, CIMD (Dubai) Limited and Stonehage Trust holdings (Jersey) Limited.

Amongst the licences were 73 issued to new non-regulated companies including Booz ‘&’ Company (M.E.) LLC, BMW Finance (United Arab Emirates) Ltd and Marubeni Europower (Middle East) Limited.

DIFC also attracted 8 new retailers including Mint Leaf of London and Brownbook Publishing FZ LLC.

As it continues to develop its modern and supportive infrastructure, major international firms took up significant additional space within the Centre including ES Bankers, which trebled its presence during the first half of this year.

DIFC remains the financial hub of choice for the world’s leading companies with 17 of the world’s top 25 banks1, eight of the world’s ten largest insurers2, eight out of 15 top law firms3, ten of the top 20 money managers4 and seven of the top ten consultancies5 all based in the Centre.

This is also underlined by Dubai’s ranking in the Global Financial Centres Index, which tracks competitiveness among 77 international financial hubs. Dubai is ranked the leading financial centre in the region and was also named amongst the top five centres where companies are thinking of opening offices. Moreover, a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit commissioned by Citi, entitled Hot Spots – Benchmarking global city competitiveness, ranked the most competitive 120 cities in the world for their demonstrated ability to attract capital, business, talent and tourists. Dubai was ranked 40 overall and the first in the MENASA region. Dubai was also ranked 10th overall for its financial maturity.