Tuesday 06, March 2018 by Jessica Combes

DIFC achieves record growth in 2017 as MEASA's leading financial hub


Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has achieved sustained growth of its financial community with the total number of registered companies from all over the world rising by 12 per cent to 1,853.

The Centre also achieved strong financial performance with net profit increasing by 25 per cent to $99 million, from $79 million in 2016, excluding $412 million of fair value (FV) gain on Investment properties.

In 2017, DIFC made notable progress towards the delivery of its 2024 growth strategy, which aims to increase the number of active financial firms to 1,000 and the combined workforce of DIFC-registered companies to 50,000. DIFC’s financial services sector grew to 473 firms, and the Centre’s workforce increased to 22,338 professionals. During the same period, an additional 384,200 square feet of space was leased, with DIFC properties maintaining a 99 per cent occupancy rate. At the same time, DIFC continued to enhance its infrastructure, with more flagship projects added to the Centre’s masterplan—the most recent of which are the construction of Gate Avenue at DIFC and The Exchange building.

In 2017, DIFC’s combined revenue was $221 million at a similar level of 2016. DIFC’s total assets grew to $3.55 billion, a rise of 15 per cent compared to 2016 ($3.08 billion). During the same period, DIFC’s operating profit, excluding Fair Value (FV) gain on Investment properties, grew by 8 per cent to $140 million (FY 2016: $130 million).

“As a top ten ranked international financial centre, DIFC is a true reflection of the success story of Dubai. The emirate is a global example of economic diversification and the financial services sector remains one of the most significant contributors to Dubai’s GDP. Today, the Centre is the leading financial hub in MEASA and is constantly exploring new opportunities to ensure the development of the regional financial services landscape,” said HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of DIFC, commenting on the DIFC’s performance.

The total number of 315 new registrations in 2017 was a new record for DIFC, representing an average of 26 new registrations per month. The geographic representation in DIFC remained broadly similar year-on-year, with 36 per cent originating from the Middle East, 33 per cent from Europe, 11 per cent from Asia, 10 per cent from the United States, and 10 per cent from other countries.

“2017 was another record year for DIFC. Not only did we strengthen our position as MEASA’s leading financial centre, but we also continued to actively support the development of regional economies. We are committed to shaping the future of financial services in the region, and we continue to support Dubai’s role as an essential component of the global financial system. Today, we remain on course to achieve the goal we set in 2014 of tripling the scale of DIFC by 2024,” added HE Essa Kazim, Chairman of DIFC Authority Board of Directors and Governor of DIFC.  

The amount of floor space leased in 2017 was a record for DIFC and indicates strong potential for future employee growth in the district.

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority added that the DIFC remains the leading financial hub in the MEASA region; it is the Centre that continues to encourage and embrace innovation to further enhance its ecosystem and remain ahead of future trends. “In 2017, we launched a number of initiatives to promote financial innovation, and in turn, financial inclusion in the broader MEASA region. This was accompanied by continuous evolution of our infrastructure and regulatory framework in order for us to enable Fintech SMEs to disrupt the way businesses operate today. This remains a key focus for us as we embark on new opportunities in 2018, guided by a clear roadmap towards the delivery of our 2024 vision.”


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