Dubai is home to more than 120 of the world’s wealthiest families and individuals, with a total net worth of more than $1 trillion (Dh3.67 trillion) as the UAE has attracted thousands of millionaires from all over the world over the past decade, especially after the pandemic.

This has positioned the emirate first in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) and among the top 22 cities globally in terms of wealthiest populations, the Dubai International Financial Centre said.

As reported by Khaleej Times, more than 3,500 millionaires from Africa and 1,500 high-net-worth individuals from the UK have relocated to Dubai in the past decade alone, according to New World Wealth.

While Henley Private Wealth said that 9,700 millionaires migrated to the UAE in 2022 and 2023 alone.

Dubai was home to 68,500 millionaires with at least $1 million in liquid assets, 206 centi-millionaires with a net worth of at least $100 million and 15 billionaires, according to the World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2023.

Thousands of millionaires from the Indian Subcontinent, Russia, Europe and other South Asian and Southeast Asian countries have made the UAE their home. All these family-owned businesses and individuals migrated to Dubai for its safety and security, one of the lowest taxes, zero personal income tax, world-class health facilities and educational institutes among others.

However, many of these billionaire family businesses are home-grown who took advantage of the local business-friendly legislation and environment and made their fortunes by setting up their conglomerates.

“The UAE has long been the primary and preferred destination for business and investment in the GCC and wider Mena region. Similarly, the UAE aims to become the regional centre for family businesses... Dubai stands as a pivotal hub for family wealth, offering unparalleled opportunities and resources for growth and preservation,” said Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, UAE’s Minister of Economy.

DIFC's growing role

Importantly, Dubai also became a hub for fund management professionals which helped the family-owned businesses and millionaires to manage their assets professionally. These family businesses employ hundreds of thousands of people in the UAE.

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has also played a crucial role in attracting and housing global financial asset managers which made it easier for millionaires and family-owned businesses to manage their portfolios more professionally.

In 2023, DIFC launched the first Family Wealth Centre of its kind in the world to grow global family wealth and support family businesses.

The financial centre houses 230 banks, including 27 of the top 29 globally systemic banks, more than 350 highly reputable wealth and asset management firms, more than 440 registered foundations and over 600 active entities affiliated with top family businesses and individuals.

“Dubai and DIFC have rapidly positioned themselves as the premier destination for family businesses worldwide. The exponential growth and expertise witnessed within the Centre, underscores its pivotal role in shaping the landscape of family wealth,” said Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC.

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