UAE Compliance Update: Kudos to the DIFC on the record-breaking growth driven by Fintech & Innovation!
Established in 2004, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has become a leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. It has also become one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, with a population of 3 billion people and a GDP of $8 trillion. Moreover, it houses more than 2,500 registered companies from over 115 countries worldwide. The DIFC provides a secure, regulated, and connected financial ecosystem in which to conduct business.
DIFC is home to 17 of the world’s top 20 banks, 25 of the world’s top 30 systemically important global banks, five of the top 10 insurance companies, five of the top 10 asset managers, and many leading global legal and consulting firms. The Centre leads MEASA in contributing to global industry development by being home to the largest clusters of banking and capital markets, FinTech, insurance, wealth and asset management, and professional services companies in the region. Strong growth has continued across business sectors, including banking, capital markets, wealth and asset management, and professional services.
They continued to grow at a record-breaking pace in 2022, with the number of active registered companies rising 20 percent from 3,644 in 2021 to 4,377 in 2022. New companies registered in DIFC in 2022 surpassed the annual milestone of 1,000 for the first time in the Centre’s history, with 2022 seeing a total of 1,084 new firms.
In 2022, DIFC’s combined revenue exceeded AED1 billion for the first time. The Centre recorded a revenue increase of 18 percent year on year to reach AED1.06 billion from AED 897 million in 2021. Operating profit for 2022 increased 19 percent to AED 679 million from AED 573 million in 2021. Total assets crossed AED 15.3 billion, reflecting DIFC’s strong financial position.
A total of 1,369 financial and innovation-related entities are now active and operating within DIFC, up 22 percent from 2021, while 291 new FinTech and innovation firms joined in 2022, taking the total to 686, an increase of 36 percent.
- DIFC’s growth significantly contributes to the goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to transform Dubai into one of the world’s top three cities for business.
- DIFC records the fastest-ever rate of employment growth; employees based in the Centre increased to 36,083, a rise of 22 percent year on year.
- 2022 sees most commercial space leased in a single year in DIFC with 809,000 sq. ft.
- FinTech and Innovation will become the fastest growing sector in DIFC; with 291 new clients in 2022, the total number of firms in the sector grows 36 percent to reach 686.
- DIFC FinTech and Innovation companies attract over $615 million in funding in 2022.
- Combined revenues exceed AED1 billion for the first time, rising to AED1.06 billion in 2022, up 18 percent from 2021; Operating profit reaches AED679 million from AED 573 million in 2021, up 19 percent.
- DIFC ranked the top free zone globally in attracting FDI for the 5th consecutive year.
– Partner & Head of Regulatory and Compliance Services, Re/think said:
“The DIFC has made tremendous strides in accelerating the adoption of next-generation technology solutions in the industry. Rethink is, as such, proud to be a part of the DIFC ecosystem in presenting regulatory and compliance advisory from our team of professionals tailored to new, emerging, and existing Fintech companies from around the globe into DIFC.”
– Senior Director of Regulatory and Compliance Services, Re/think said:
“Global economic growth is synchronized for the first time since the 2007-09 financial crisis, and the DIFC is clearly the destination for financial professionals who want to expand their business, especially as clients become increasingly frustrated by advisors offering limited services in other jurisdictions. Re/think is a market leader providing clients with comprehensive, world-class financial licensing services in the DIFC”.
Partner & Head – Regulatory & Compliance Services
Senior Director – Regulatory & Compliance Services