DIFC continues to lure a broad range of financial organisitions - GulfToday

DIFC continues to lure a broad range of financial organisitions


Officials of DIFC and FRA during a meeting in Dubai.

Forensic Risk Alliance (FRA), a forensic accounting, business analysis and eDiscovery consultancy specialising in international and complex investigations, compliance and disputes, has established its Middle East and Africa Head Office in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

DIFC continues to attract a broad range of financial services-related companies which form part of the region’s largest financial ecosystem and are helping to drive the future of finance. FRA will use its DIFC base to grow the region’s forensics and advisory market.

FRA’s presence in DIFC will help the company better service prospective and existing clients, as well as access opportunities across the region. By establishing a presence in DIFC, FRA is able to contribute to the Centre’s Strategy 2030 which is to double its size and economic contribution to Dubai’s GDP, furthering its place among the world’s top hubs for technology and innovation firms.

FRA is a highly successful international consultancy, which specialises in compliance, risk mitigation, and corruption and fraud investigations and disputes for major global corporations and law firms. The firm, which combines deep forensic accounting, data governance and investigative expertise with cutting-edge yet responsible data collection technology, will support clients to navigate litigation and complex compliance obligations. The opening of FRA’s office in DIFC marks the firm’s growth while demonstrating its expansion plans and the strengthening of its existing engagements across the Middle East.

Bhavin Shah, former Partner at Deloitte Middle East, has been appointed to head the firm’s new Middle East and Africa (MEA) office based in DIFC. The new office will help the firm stay close to a majority of its existing and prospective clients. It will also serve as a key location for high-value litigation, complex cross-border disputes, financial crime prevention and compliance advisory work across key markets, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia and the wider MEA region.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “DIFC continues to lead the way in the region for compliance and governance standards which provide the financial services industry with confidence to do business here. Establishing their regional head office in DIFC will provide Forensic Risk Alliance with access to the region’s largest cluster of financial services companies and the broader Middle East, Africa and South Asia region. The advice and support our clients receive from partners such as Forensic Risk Alliance will further differentiate us as the region’s leading global financial centre.”

Bhavin Shah, Head of MEA at Forensic Risk Alliance, said: “I’m honoured to lead the charge in launching the FRA MEA office in DIFC. We humbly thank DIFC and Dubai government for the warm welcome and support given to FRA. Dubai, and in particular DIFC, is one of the most dynamic business destinations globally and we look forward to being part of this thriving ecosystem. We are here to serve the market on complex multiple-jurisdictional situations and support the government’s agenda on transparency, innovation and digitisation.”

Stuart Ells, CEO at Forensic Risk Alliance, said: “Aligned to our international expansion plans, we are pleased to open our office in DIFC, where many of our existing and prospective clients have a strong presence. As the need for forensics and advisory services grows in the region, we will be able to bring our global expertise and insight to help our clients navigate regulatory proceedings while building a strong, local footprint that is of great strategic value.”

FRA also announced that it has appointed Stephen Millington as Partner of the firm to be based in the new office in DIFC. DIFC is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and an estimated GDP of $7.7 trillion.

With an 18-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai.

DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of almost 30,000 professionals working across over 3,600 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region.

The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance through cutting-edge technology, innovation, and partnerships. Today, it is a global future of finance and innovation hub offering one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.

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