Dubai is ranked eighth just below Tokyo and Beijing on the latest Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), thanks to Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) creating a robust business and investment environment in the emirate.

Dubai's latest position on the index is its highest ever ranking and makes it the only financial centre in the Middle East and Africa to appear within the top 10 rankings.

The index ranked New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai as the top five financial hubs followed by Tokyo, Beijing, Dubai, Shenzhen, Sydney and Toronto.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of DIFC said the city’s steady ascent in rankings has been driven by DIFC’s remarkable success in building an ecosystem that fosters financial industry growth.

"DIFC is one of the key initiatives at the forefront of Dubai’s new phase of growth and its efforts to create a business and investment environment that rivals the world’s best," he said.

"Our sights are set firmly on the goal of becoming the No. 1 ranked global financial centre. We will also continue to work closely with the industry to help them deliver value and find new opportunities for growth,” he added.

While Abu Dhabi was ranked 32 on GFCI, Doha and Bahrain were ranked 39 and 47 respectively.

DIFC has been successful in establishing a sprawling business environment in the region, a key factor influencing global competitiveness for financial centres. The centre has enhanced its legal and regulatory framework to fuel growth opportunities within the Middle East and Africa.

With more than 24,000 professionals working across over 2,200 active registered companies, the DIFC comprises the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region. 

The financial centre’s wins this year include:

  1. DIFC’s independent regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), in collaboration with the other financial regulators in the Emirates, announced the UAE passporting regime -- a regulator mechanism to promote and supervise investment funds that encourages foreign licensed firms in financial free zones based in other countries to enter the local market. 
  2. DIFC's new Insolvency Law in June 2019, facilitates an effective bankruptcy restructuring regime for stakeholders operating in the Centre. 
  3. DIFC’s new Employment Law in June 2019 to address key issues such as paternity leave, sick pay, and end-of-service settlements to support the workforce based in the Centre, whilst protecting and balancing the interests of both employers and employees. 
  4. DIFC has launched Employee Workplace Savings (DEWS) scheme, which will see the evolution of end-of-service benefits from a defined benefit scheme to a defined contribution scheme, while offering a voluntary savings component for employees.

Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC said: “The financial sector is a cornerstone of the UAE’s economy and the DIFC is a magnet for global investment, and the central hub for international trade.  

"This ranking further underscores the economic potential of the region and the strong promise of Dubai as the destination of choice for international organisations, emerging companies and the financial technology leaders of the future to collaborate to deliver exponential growth,” he added.

The GFCI is released twice a year by London-based Z/Yen and the China Development Institute and provides evaluations of competitiveness and rankings for the major global financial centres.  More than 114 centres were evaluated as part of the 26th GFCI ranking.

(Writing by Seban Scaria , editing by Anoop Menon)

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© ZAWYA 2019