DIFC in 2021 reports its highest annual revenue and record new memberships

The free zone recorded 996 new company registrations last year

DIFC is the biggest financial centre in the Middle East and Africa, according to the Global Financial Centres Index ranking.
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Dubai International Financial Centre recorded its highest annual revenue and operating profit in 2021 as it posted a 36 per cent growth in new company registrations.

Revenue rose 16 per cent to reach Dh897 million ($244.2m) last year, compared with Dh774m in 2020. It passed the pre-pandemic levels of 2019 by 7 per cent, the emirate's financial free zone said in a statement on Wednesday.

Operating profit rose 26 per cent annually to Dh573m and was 13 per cent higher when compared with 2019.

“DIFC’s best ever annual performance reflects Dubai’s position at the forefront of global recovery in the financial sector and the broader economy," said Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and president of DIFC.

"DIFC’s continued success has also been driven by the solid and enduring partnerships Dubai has built with leading global financial companies by providing them the high-quality hard and soft infrastructure needed to raise their competitiveness in an evolving industry."

Established in 2004, DIFC is the largest financial centre in the Middle East and Africa and the 19th biggest worldwide, according to the Global Financial Centres Index ranking published last year.

It had unveiled targets to increase the number of financial companies operating within the free zone to 1,000 while employing 50,000 people by 2024 – a goal it achieved in the first half of 2021, three years ahead of schedule.

DIFC recorded 996 new company registrations in 2021, the most it has yet seen in a year and more than triple the average number across the last decade.

The total number of active registered companies operating in DIFC increased by 25 per cent to 3,644 compared with 2,919 in 2020. Financial and innovation related entities increased 23 per cent to 1,124 compared with 915 in 2020.

Quote
DIFC’s best ever annual performance reflects Dubai’s position at the forefront of global recovery in the financial sector and the broader economy
Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid

Some of the new companies that joined Dubai's financial free zone include Air Liquide Middle East & India Holding, BentallGreenOak Advisers, DP World Financial Services, Dual Corporate Risks Limited, General Reinsurance, Howden Insurance Brokers, Hines, Mamo, Richemont and Thunderbird Global Innovation Centre.

Total banking assets booked in DIFC increased 5 per cent to $198.5bn from $189.4bn in 2020. The figure represents about 20 per cent of the consolidated UAE financial sector banking assets, DIFC said.

“Dubai’s economy rebounded more quickly than many global economies following the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic," said Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC.

"DIFC has helped drive this new phase of growth and we are proud to be a significant contributor to Dubai’s GDP. Our focus in 2022 will be on driving the future economy by attracting more financial sector investment into the UAE.”

Updated: February 17, 2022, 10:05 AM
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