DIFC Space In High Demand
Thursday, January 24, 2013
The number of active registered companies operating within the Dubai International
Financial Centre (DIFC) rose during the year to reach 912 companies at the end
of December 2012, a 7% year-on-year increase, while the workforce of registered
companies leapt by 16% during the year, to 14,000 persons.
Jeffrey Singer, Chief Executive Officer of the DIFC Authority remarked: "Dubai's
unique proposition and geographical positioning provide unrivalled opportunities
in terms of connectivity and accessibility to the thriving Middle East, Asian
and African markets. The growth we have witnessed within the DIFC reflects the
ongoing demand among international businesses for a presence in the region."
He added: "In spite of global economic challenges, the DIFC has delivered
a robust performance across all areas of the business. Our strategy remains
the same and by capitalizing on our world-class infrastructure and internationally
recognized legislative and regulatory framework, we are creating a platform
for global and regional companies to build fruitful and sustainable business
relationships within a comprehensive financial environment.”
Notable new additions to the DIFC's business community included Bank of China
Middle East (Dubai) Limited, Royal and Sun Alliance Insurance PLC, Standard
Life International Limited, Abu Dhabi Capital Management, and asset manager
Neuberger Berman Europe Limited. A number of companies decided to build upon
their profile from the DIFC by applying to upgrade their license, including:
Bank Sarasin-Alpen (Middle East) Limited, UBS AG and VTB Capital PLC.
With the DIFC now almost full to capacity many firms looked to expand upon
the size of their DIFC offices. 260,000 square feet of space was occupied by
new firms during the year, and 35,000 additional square feet was made available
for existing firms. Just over 875,000 square feet of space was made available
during the second half of 2012 to facilitate the further expansion of the DIFC.
Following the expansion seen in 2012, the DIFC is now home to 19 of the world's
top 25 banks, 11 of the top 20 money managers, eight of the top 10 insurance
companies, and six of the top 10 legal firms.
Launched in 2004, 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.
According to the September Global Financial Centres Index, Dubai is now ranked
as the top financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and is
placed as one of the top five global centres where international firms want
to open offices, alongside Singapore, Hong Kong, London and Shanghai.