Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) is continuing to drive the future of finance and explore opportunities for strategic collaboration between the Centre and key European hubs to accelerate sustainable growth.
The Centre has undertaken a successful roadshow to key financial centres including the UK, France, Germany, and Switzerland, led by H.E. Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC and Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority. During the week-long campaign, high-level strategic meetings took place in London, Frankfurt, Paris, and Zurich, highlighting DIFC as the ideal base for European firms seeking to scale their operations across the MEASA and capitalise on the exponential growth of the region.
The roadshow highlighted the strength of DIFC’s Wealth and Asset Management market which was reported to be $424 billion in 2018; equivalent to approximately 30% of the GCC’s combined GDP. The event also highlighted key milestones achieved by the Centre during the first half of 2019 and emphasised the DIFC’s focus on boosting financial sector development, investing in innovation, strengthening the already robust FinTech ecosystem and developing partnerships with key international accelerators.
As part of the Centre’s roadmap to support the economic vision of Dubai and the UAE by diversifying and disrupting the financial services industry and identifying opportunities for sustainable growth, the roadshow reflected DIFC’s sustained focus on financial innovation, with FinTech events and development meetings taking place in London, Paris, and Switzerland. Business development meetings, speaking opportunities, networking events and roundtables with financial sector leaders and industry stakeholders took place, outlining DIFC’s strategic plans and the Centre’s roadmap for growth.
During the London leg of the roadshow, DIFC participated in a series of high-level meetings with UK based investment partners and prospects and partnered with international law firm Simmons & Simmons LLP to co-host an event which focused on capital raising in the Middle East and analysed asset flows through DIFC, thus outlining models for cross-border distribution across the region as a whole. Development meetings also deepened partnerships with British firms and financial institutions, along with a FinTech event focused on attracting established organisations and financial innovation start-ups to the Centre.
This significant emphasis on financial technology and innovation is part of DIFC’s ongoing efforts to shape the future of finance in MEASA region and reflects the Centre’s sustained focus on unlocking the potential of FinTech by partnering with international economic innovation hubs. The DIFC has signed strategic agreements and mutually beneficial partnerships with pivotal FinTech hubs including Accenture’s FinTech Innovation hub in London and Paris based Finance Innovation, France’s official innovation cluster for the financial industry during the last 12 months.
Dubai has been recognised as the seventh FinTech location globally for economic potential, acknowledging the efforts of the Emirate to support and expedite sustainable economic growth by fDi Intelligence – the Financial Times. During their time in Frankfurt, DIFC partnered with Frankfurt Main Finance, the Association of Foreign Banks in Germany and leading global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright LLP to host a breakfast which addressed the future of finance and explored opportunities for growth within the MEASA Region.
The event provided the opportunity for DIFC to engage with more than 70 senior sector representatives including Banks and Capital Markets, Insurance, Wealth and Asset Management. During the session, DIFC reaffirmed their commitment to the European market and to developing opportunities for German firms in the MEASA.
Senior DIFC representatives also undertook meetings with key players and investors in the sector across Zurich in order to build relationships with key international accelerators and FinTech firms. The DIFC has already seen a marked increase in the number of firms that make up its dynamic FinTech ecosystem, which more than doubled in size from over 80 to 200 companies during the first six months of 2019. Similarly, the number of licensed FinTech firms operating in the Centre increased from 35 to more than 100 since the end of 2018. Key European FinTech firms that have made the Centre their MEASA base include Dublin-based software company Fenergo, InsurTech leaders Charles Taylor and Swedish crowdfunding platform, FundedByMe.
Commenting on the European roadshow, Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer, DIFC Authority, said: “Our recent visit to Europe was a huge success and reinforced the great interest from financial institutions and corporates looking to grow their business in the fast-growing MEASA markets. There is a huge amount of potential for these firms to capitalise on. Europe remains a core market for the DIFC whilst 32% of financial institutions based in the Centre originate from European markets; therefore we are always seeking new ways to extend our partnerships with our peers in London, Paris, Frankfurt and Zurich.”
He added: “It is DIFC’s strategic goal to drive the future of finance and seek new ways to share best practice and positively disrupt the global financial ecosystem. European firms are essential to the the Centre’s infrastructure, whilst internationally rooted FinTechs are proven to be pioneers, enabling the DIFC to grow and develop as a global leader in the financial technology space. We are committed to nurturing strategic international partnerships with like-minded institutions and develop opportunities for increased cross-border growth. The roadshow has reaffirmed the enormous potential of financial sector innovation to ignite global economies and deliver sustainable financial sector growth.”
Dubai continues to be recognised on the global stage as a dynamic business environment where innovation thrives, whilst the Centre has delivered outstanding business performance across both traditional banking and FinTech sectors. DIFC offers all the elements found in the world’s most successful financial industry ecosystems, including an independent regulatory and judicial system, a global financial exchange, access to funding, a dynamic and enabling sector environment, complemented by a diverse and cosmopolitan talent pool and a vibrant business community.