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Insurance Ratings Agency Establishes DIFC Office

Friday, May 4, 2012

A.M. Best, a leading provider of credit ratings and financial data for the insurance industry, has received the necessary approvals to begin regional business from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The new office will operate as A.M. Best MENA, South & Central Asia, servicing clients throughout the region and developing new relationships to grow its insurance ratings franchise. Rating analysis will continue to be performed by teams based in London and Hong Kong.

“We are delighted to have received the necessary approvals from the authorities at DIFC and look forward to joining the other international companies in what has become a major financial centre for the region,” said Dr Roger Sellek, Chief Executive Officer of A.M. Best - EMEA and Asia Pacific. “This announcement is an important step in A.M. Best’s commitment to being a truly global rating agency servicing the needs of the (re)insurance industry throughout the world including the growth economies in this important region.”

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIFC Authority, added: “Amidst the constant development in the world of financial services there has been a rapid growth in the insurance industry. To provide comfort to policy holders, companies in that industry need reputable rating agencies of A.M. Best’s calibre to assess their creditworthiness. We are very proud to have the pioneers of the concept of financial ratings that specialise in insurance establish their regional presence in DIFC. We look forward to supporting their business here and working with them to further develop the financial services industry in the region.”

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. Active companies registered in the DIFC grew by 7% in 2011 to reach 848 by December 31 last year, with the free zone currently home to 21 of the world’s top 30 banks, six of the world’s 10 largest insurers, six of the top 10 law firms and eight of the top 20 money managers.