DIFC registers 11% more finance firms in first half

DIFC registered 250 new companies, bringing the total number of active registered firms to 2,289

DUBAI, UAE. February 05, 2014 - Stock photograph of the DIFC Gate in Dubai, February 05, 2014.  (Photo by: Sarah Dea/The National, Story by: STANDALONE, Business Stock)

The number of number of finance sector-related firms operating in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) grew 11 per cent in the first half of the year, the financial free zone said on Sunday

DIFC registered 250 new companies, bringing the total number of active registered firms to 2,289 — a 14 per cent increase year-on-year. The increase meant 660 new jobs were created in the centre, pushing the workforce to more than 24,000. DIFC now houses 671 finance-related firms.

"Dubai continues to gain recognition on the global stage as the destination where business meets innovation, and the DIFC has been a significant driver of this," Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and DIFC President, said.

The financial services firms that joined in 2019 include Maybank Islamic Berhad from Malaysia, Cantor Fitzgerald from the US, Atlas Wealth Management from Australia and Mauritius Commercial Bank, according to state news agency Wam.

DIFC, one of the top onshore financial free zones in the Middle East, is on track to raise its number of financial companies to 1,000, housing 50,000 employees and reaching assets under management at the centre to $250bn by 2024, DIFC governor Essa Kazim told The National earlier this year.

The financial hub, set up in 2004, recently rolled out reforms. In May, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, UAE Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, enacted new insolvency and employment laws for companies operating at the centre. The insolvency law came into effect on June 13, with the employment law set to go live on August 28. DIFC is also replacing the end-of-service gratuity with investment plans from January 1 next year.

In January, DIFC announced a master plan for “DIFC 2.0”, an extension that will triple the centre's space.