DIFC grows 7% in first half of 2013

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial free zone connecting the region’s emerging markets with the markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas, has said  the number of active registered companies operating from the Centre grew seven per cent in first half of 2013.
The net total of active registered companies operating in the Centre grew to 979 (FY 2012: 912), an increase of seven per cent, while 94 commercial licences were issued in H1 2013, said a statement from DIFC, adding: “1,000 net new jobs were created and 15,000 employees were working in the Centre in the first half.”
DIFC, the region’s first financial free zone, has continued to strengthen its position as the international financial centre of choice in the region, and as of  June 30, 2013, 979 active registered companies had a presence in the Centre – with 365 regulated, 481 non-regulated companies, and 133 retailers.
“Interest from North America and Europe continues to increase as western multinationals look to diversify their operations and expand towards the East,” said the statement. “DIFC has also witnessed sustained interest from Middle Eastern and Asian firms looking to increase their exposure to opportunities arising in Africa and the West. About 36% of regulated companies come from Europe, 27% from the Middle East, 16% from North America, 11% from Asia, and 10% from the rest of the world.”
The Centre has definitely found favor with big multinational players with 21 of the world’s top 25 banks, 11 of the top 20 money managers, six of the world’s 10 largest insurers, and six out of 10 top law firms all based in the Centre.
In terms of regulations, the Centre has been working to align its standards with the global financial sector to accommodate more developed-market players. During the first six months of 2013, DIFC Authority proposed amendments in a number of DIFC laws and regulations to comply with the requirements set out by the OECD Global Forum on Transparency and the Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, and aligning the Arbitration Law with the the New York Convention.
CEO  of DIFC Authority, Jeffery Singer, said: “Dubai International Financial Centre as witnessed numerous achievements over the last decade, and the last six months have been a continuation of our success. The Centre’s unique infrastructure, internationally recognized legislative and regulatory framework, and dynamic business environment have positioned DIFC to become a financial ecosystem. By connecting the region to the world, and the world to the region, DIFC provides excellent opportunities for companies based in the Centre to operate and expand their business, as reflected in the success and growth of Dubai’s economy.”