DIFC recognised by World Alliance of International Financial Centres - GulfToday

DIFC recognised by World Alliance of International Financial Centres


A breathtaking view of the Dubai International Financial Centre in Dubai on Monday.

Business Bureau, Gulf Today

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has announced that its membership of the World Alliance of International Financial Centres (WAIFC) has been unanimously approved by its board.

DIFC will use its membership to collaborate with members who represent other leading global financial centres including London, Frankfurt, Paris, Tokyo and Toronto. As the highest ranked global financial centre in the region, DIFC will also be able to share best practice with members who aspire to have comparable stature. Some of these financial centres are already supported by DIFC through mutual memorandums of understanding.

Given DIFC’s vision to drive the future of finance, an active area of collaboration will relate to accelerating the use of technology within the industry. Another area of focus will be nurturing the adoption of Environment, Social and Governance goals which will support sustainable economic growth future from the industry.

Commenting on DIFC’s membership, Jennifer Reynolds, Chairwoman of the WAIFC, stated, “We are very pleased to have DIFC join our association. Dubai is a leading global financial centre, and DIFC will undoubtedly bring a valued contribution to our initiatives. We are very much looking forward to working with the colleagues in Dubai.”

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, commented, “DIFC is pleased to be joining the World Alliance of International Financial Centres. The Centre is looking forward to representing Dubai and building partnerships with other members so we can be a collective force for good. Together we can make progress on areas such as FinTech, innovation, sustainable finance and developing digital economies. We can align our approaches which will allow us to cohesively drive the future of finance.”

Dr. Jochen Biedermann, Managing Director of the WAIFC, added, “DIFC has been an observer to WAIFC since last year, and we are delighted that it will join WAIFC as a full member now. DIFC has had a phenomenal development in less than twenty years from its first steps to one of the world’s leading financial centres. We are very much looking forward to exchanging best practices and learning from each other.”

WAIFC is a non-profit association registered in Brussels, Belgium which represents leading international financial centres, facilitating co-operation and the exchange of best practice.

The Alliance was established in July 2018 when financial services leaders from around the globe gathered in Paris. Members vary in size and scope of activities, however they can benefit from various levels of cross fertilisation, leveraging collective and individual efficiency.

The WAIFC now represents 19 leading international financial centres across four continents. WAIFC members are from city governments, associations and similar institutions developing and promoting their financial centres.

Meanwhile, the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) recently reported the best performance in its 16-year history.

Delivered under the leadership of Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of DIFC, these achievements contribute to all pillars of Dubai’s 2021 strategy, including raising the emirate’s status as a pivotal global economic hub and a smart and a sustainable city.

Reaffirming Dubai’s growing reputation across the global finance industry, the number of new firms operating in DIFC grew 20 per cent, taking the total to 2,919.

A total of 915 financial companies are now active in DIFC, up 24 per cent from 735 in 2019. The number of businesses in the FinTech and Innovation ecosystem more than doubled with 189 joining in 2020, taking the total to 303. This represents substantial progress on DIFC’s 2024 vision and strategy to drive the future of finance. The wide range of new clients further contributes to the breadth and depth of DIFC, underscoring the solid foundations that the Centre has been built on. Business sectors across DIFC achieved exponential growth, including banking, capital markets, wealth and asset management, FinTech and professional services.

DIFC’s best ever annual performance in its history, achieved in the country’s 50th anniversary year, also reflect the UAE’s and Dubai’s ability to partner with its business communities to facilitate continued growth despite the most challenging conditions we have seen in the international economy.

The remarkable growth in 2020 enhances the diversity and sophistication of DIFC’s financial ecosystem, further raising Dubai’s status as a major focal point for global finance and a growth multiplier for the industry,” Sheikh Maktoum added.

Notable financial services firms opening headquarters and regional offices in DIFC in 2020 included TATA Asset Management, Samba Financial Group, Caixabank and AfricaRe. FinTechs included global and regional names such as Ebury, Ripple, Adyen, KoFax Me and Tabby.  

In 2020, total banking assets booked in DIFC increased 6 per cent to US$189 billion.

An additional $64 billion of lending was also arranged by DIFC firms. DIFC based Wealth and Asset Management portfolio managers invested $203.5 billion, up by 106 per cent, from $99 billion in 2019, with the industry now worth US$528.5 billion. Gross Written Premiums for the insurance sector reached US$1.7 billion.

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