The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) investment hub reported its best-ever year for new company registrations in 2018 on the back of strong interest from Asian firms and fintech companies.
The free zone attracted a record number of new registrations last year and total assets under management of the companies at the hub nearly touched $100bn (Dh367bn), its governor said.
The DIFC registered 437 businesses, a 39% growth driven in both financial and non-financial companies, especially those in fintech, Essa Kazim said. The number of new companies translate roughly into two additional ones per working day in 2018, he said.
We had a superb year in 2018. Certainly that result will contribute to consolidate DIFC’s position as a major international hub and also support Dubai’s drive for diversification"
"We had a superb year in 2018. Certainly that result will contribute to consolidate DIFC's position as a major international hub and also support Dubai's drive for diversification."
"We continue to be focused on delivering our 2024 strategy. FinTech will be playing a major role in being the engine of growth going forward," Kazim added.
The DIFC governor said the result represented a significant step toward its 10-year strategy of tripling in size — in terms of the number of firms, employees and assets under management — by 2024.
"Over the last 15 years, we have achieved the scale, flexibility and sophistication of the world's most advanced financial ecosystems, bolstered by the Dubai Financial Services Authority, our internationally recognized regulator, and the Dispute Resolution Authority, our platform for delivering legal excellence in the Middle East," he said.
He also unveiled financial figures for the year, with an 11% rise in net profits to $88m, and a 3% increase in the value of investment properties, at $3.03bn.
The number of financial companies increased to 625 in 2018, and the total number of companies rose to 2,137.
Of the 625 financial businesses, 35 are Fintechs registered in 2018, 66 are funds and 31 are family offices. The rest are core financial institutions including big banks, according to the annual review presentation.