DIFC sees 25% rise in new firms in first half of 2020

The financial free zone attracted 66 new registrations in March and 88 in June

DUBAI, UAE. April 16, 2014 - Stock photograph of stock ticker in front of DIFC Gate in Dubai, April 16, 2014. (Photos by: Sarah Dea/The National, Story by: Lianne Gutcher, Business)

The number of firms operating out of Dubai International Financial Centre rose 25 per cent in the first half of 2020 as the financial free zone looks to triple its size by 2024.

DIFC attracted 310 new companies in the first half of 2020, bringing the total number of companies based in the free zone to 2,584, the centre said on Saturday. The free zone had 66 new registrations in March and 88 in June compared to an average of 52 registrations in other months. DIFC now has 820 financial firms.

"During [the first half of] 2020, DIFC delivered a series of record-breaking months for registrations. This was achieved while we supported our clients during the global challenges of Covid-19,” said Arif Amiri, chief executive of DIFC Authority.

New DIFC registrations include Tata Asset Management, Samba Financial Group, Gazprombank, Funding Souq and Decimal Factor Middle East, while new FinTechs include Ripple and KoFax Me.

The number of licensed FinTech firms in DIFC grew 74 per cent within this period, with 87 new companies linked to financial technology joining the free zone.

The onshore financial centre is home to some of the world’s biggest financial institutions, banks, investment firms, wealth managers and insurers.

Last year, the number of firms operating out of DIFC rose to 2,437 by the end of 2019 after the centre welcomed 493 new companies. The total size of the wealth and asset management industry in DIFC grew to $422bn, while other activities amounted to $276bn. Gross written premiums by DIFC-based insurers totalled $1.98bn.

DIFC was established in 2004 and it aims to raise the number of financial companies to 1,000, and employ 50,000 people by 2024.