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DIFC Hails First Half Expansion

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Following years of strong growth since its launch, the Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) free zone has announced near-full occupancy in many of its commercial units, in new figures for the first half of the year recently released by the DIFC Authority.

The highlights of the Centre's report include that:

  • The net total of active registered companies operating in the Centre grew to 899 (FY 2011: 848), an increase of 6%;
  • The number of employees working in DIFC stands at around 13,000;
  • 90 commercial licences were issued in H1 2012 compared with 64 licences in H1 2011, a year-on-year increase of 41%;
  • Occupancy of DIFC-owned commercial offices in the Gate District increased to 98% (FY 2011: 95%) of the leasable space;
  • Occupancy in DIFC-owned retail space remained constant at 96%; and,
  • Commercial office space within third-party developments under DIFC’s management is 86% occupied, compared with 72% occupancy at the end of 2011.

The DIFC has found success in acting as a financial and business hub connecting the region's emerging markets with the markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas. The report said that strong interest continued to be received during the period from entities in North America and Europe seeking to diversify their operations and expand towards the East. More recently, the DIFC has also witnessed sustained interest from Middle Eastern and Asian firms looking to increase their exposure to opportunities arising in Africa and the West.

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.”

The figures show that of those entities established in the DIFC, 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.

The DIFC boasts world-leading companies including 17 of the world’s top 25 banks, eight of the world’s ten largest insurers, eight out of the top 15 law firms, 10 of the top 20 money managers and seven of the top ten consultancies.

One of Dubai's many free zones, the DIFC has a highly attractive tax and regulatory regime, offering firms 0% income tax guaranteed for 50 years, 100% foreign ownership, no exchange controls and a legal system based on English common law. In the latest Global Financial Centres Index, which tracks competitiveness among 77 international financial hubs, Dubai was ranked the leading financial centre in the region and was also named amongst the top five centres by companies seeking to open new regional offices.

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The Report

Offshore Trusts Guide: Introduction

The History of Offshore Trusts
Development of Professional Competence in the Jurisdictions
What Future for the Trust?
The New Age of Transparency
The Swiss Association of Trust Companies
The Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners

Offshore Trusts Guide: Jurisdictions

Bahamas

Bahamas: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bahamas: 2006 Private Trust Companies Legislation

Barbados

Barbados: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Barbados: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Bermuda

Bermuda: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Bermuda: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

British Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
British Virgin Islands: Special Trusts Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: The Trustee Act 2003
British Virgin Islands: :Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees
British Virgin Islands: New Laws on Private Trust Companies
British Virgin Islands: New Private Trust Company Regulations

Cayman Islands

Cayman Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cayman Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cook Islands

Cook Islands: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cook Islands: Supervisory and Licensing Regime and Fees

Cyprus

Cyprus: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Cyprus: Supervision, Licensing and Tax

Gibraltar

Gibraltar: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Gibraltar: Legislation, Regulation and Supervision

Guernsey

Guernsey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Guernsey: Trusts Law 2007

Isle of Man

Isle of Man: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Isle of Man: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Isle of Man: Uses Clients and Tax Treatment

Jersey

Jersey: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Jersey: Supervisory and Licensing Regime
Jersey: Trusts Amendment Act 2006
Jersey: Foundations

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Liechtenstein: Regulation Supervision and Transparency
Liechtenstein: Characteristics of Liechtenstein Trusts
Liechtenstein: Foundations

Madeira

Madeira: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Malta

Malta: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Malta: The Trust and Trustees Act 2004

Mauritius

Mauritius: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Mauritius: Characteristics of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Additional Provisions of the 2001 Trusts Act
Mauritius: Tax Treatment

Monaco

Monaco: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Nevis

Nevis: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Panama

Panama: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Panama: Requirements for Acting as Trust Company in Panama

Seychelles

Seychelles: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees

Turks & Caicos

Turks & Caicos: Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees
Turks & Caicos: The Voidable Dispositions Ordinance

Vanuatu

Vanuatu Legal Framework and Formation Rules and Fees




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