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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.