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Emerging market equity exchanges, particularly those in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, are making big news.

Long-term structural change means they are representing an ever-larger share of global equity capitalisation. This shifting reality is creating new opportunities for brokerage firms with operations in the region.

For example, MSCI recently changed the United Arab Emirates from frontier to emerging market status, while Saudi Arabia is taking significant steps to improve access to foreign investors in its drive for emerging market status.

As an onshore financial free zone, DIFC offers brokerage operations the region’s most advanced telecommunications, IT and regulatory infrastructure, allowing them to optimally access and serve markets and exchanges across MEASA.

DIFC-based brokerage operations have direct access to the large market of family offices, private banks, investment advisors and investment banks located in the Centre. DIFC also is home to Nasdaq Dubai, one of the region’s most significant international electronic trading platforms and one of the world’s leading exchanges for sukuk (Islamic bonds).

By establishing operations in the Centre, regional and international brokerage firms can centralise and consolidate the resources used to service the region, thereby gaining a competitive cost of operation.

Brokerage is one of five areas within the Banks and Capital Markets focus at DIFC. The other areas include Private Banking, Investment Banking, Banking and Capital Markets.

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Advantages of setting up in DIFC

DIFC is the unrivalled financial hub of the region with an established and tested legal and regulatory framework. Safe and stable, Dubai is a global city and business, trade and tourism centre that is fully connected to regional and global markets.


Region’s most advanced telecommunications, IT and regulatory infrastructure


DIFC puts firms at the centre of a region representing a growing share of global market capitalisation


Captive market of sophisticated clients, including family offices, private banks and investment advisors

Legal and Regulatory Framework

Although operating independently, the DIFC Authority, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA) serve a common goal: reinforcing DIFC’s principles of integrity, transparency and efficiency. 

The DIFC Authority is responsible for the guiding strategy, ongoing development and overall public administration of DIFC. The DFSA is the globally recognised independent regulator of financial services conducted in or from DIFC. The DRA provides an English-language, commercial common law judicial system, as well as a dispute resolution platform, and other services to deliver legal excellence in the Middle East.

Register in Three Steps

Simple and straightforward licensing, registration and regulation, makes setting up and operating in DIFC fast and efficient.

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Discuss your proposed brokerage operations with DFSA and DIFC service advisors


Submit application documents 


Receive approvals for licenses, visas and consent notifications 

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