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DIFC Reflects On Impressive Growth

Friday, June 1, 2012

New statistical data released from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) demonstrates the substantial demand witnessed since 2008 from financial services companies wishing to undertake a broad range of activities from the Centre's tax free zone.

Marketed as a financial and business hub from which companies can connect with the region’s growth markets, and with the markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas, the DIFC has witnessed sustained growth since its inception.

As of March 2012, the DIFC community comprised of 861 active registered companies, (322 regulated and 539 non-regulated companies), up 2% compared with March 2011.

The DIFC - which only became operational in 2004 - is now home to 21 of the world’s top 30 global banks, eight of the top global money managers, six of the 10 largest insurers and six of the top 10 law firms in the world.

Deposits obtained from outside of the DIFC by regulated entities have grown rapidly in the past three years at an average annual rate of 39% to reach USD12.8bn at the end of Q1 2012. Loans and advances of DIFC’s regulated entities rose over the past three years at an average annual rate of 40% to reach USD14.7bn at the end of Q1 2012. Meanwhile, assets under management at DIFC-based companies remained steady, growing from USD7bn at the end of 2011 to USD8.1bn at the end of Q1 2012.

Commenting on the report, Dr. Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist at the DIFC, said: “The DIFC is the only international financial centre that collects and publishes financial activity data of its registered entities. What the data clearly shows is that DIFC entities have witnessed continued real growth over the past three years, despite the international financial crisis and regional events."

He added: "Deposits and credit growth rates of DIFC-based companies have also been substantially higher compared to those of the GCC area banks. We expect higher growth to continue as DIFC-based companies expand their activities further."

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIFC Authority added: “The numbers are testament to the successful growth in the breadth and depth of financial activity within the DIFC due to the diverse services provided by the regulated firms. Our effort toward enhancing the DIFC’s legal and regulatory framework as well as its physical infrastructure positions DIFC as an ideal platform for regional and international growth."

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.