DIFC and Luxembourg for Finance Discuss Potential Collaboration to Develop the Financial Services Industry in the GCC



The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the financial and business hub connecting the region’s emerging markets with the developed markets of Europe, Asia and the Americas, today hosted “Luxembourg & Dubai, a partnership for financial services”, in collaboration with Luxembourg for Finance, a public-private partnership between the Luxembourg Government and the Luxembourg Financial Industry Federation that is responsible for the development of the financial sector in the Grand Duchy.

The seminar which took place in the Ritz Carlton DIFC, follows the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two parties in 2010 to promote cooperation and industry development across a wide range of areas. It explored the respective strengths of each party and the growth opportunities for the financial services sector in the GCC which is expected to drive the economic growth of the wider region.

The senior delegation of financial experts from Luxembourg, was led by H.E. Luc Frieden, Minister of Finance, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Luxembourg is the second largest investment fund centre in the world and the Eurozone’s premier hub for private banking. H.E. Frieden said: “Luxembourg is a diversified financial centre that is finely adapted to the needs of international clients, characteristics that are also true of the Dubai International Financial Centre. As complementary regional financial centres we look forward to developing ever closer ties in the years to come.”

The seminar discussed the possible effects of global regulatory standards on the future development of the financial services sector and the main challenges facing regional financial institutions. The seminar also highlighted the efforts that are being undertaken in Europe in order to combat the current challenges in the economy, especially with a potential global effect, and how to prepare for the future. Participants discussed the importance of the cooperation between the Luxembourg and the region, especially that it is one of the only four European countries remaining with a AAA rating. As Luxembourg targets global markets to develop economic laws and policies in its efforts to create an environment of legal stability, cooperation with DIFC would help develop the region and allow it to operate per international standards.

In his opening remarks, Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “With the new regulations, it is important that we continue supporting not only DIFC-based firms, but also those in the UAE and wider GCC, by expanding the range of financial services and products available to them, especially in the current economic environment. I’m confident of DIFC’s ability to respond swiftly to the changing and evolving regulations and look forward to developing today’s discussions into real business opportunities.”

Fernand Grulms, CEO, Luxembourg for Finance, commented: “Numerous Luxembourg companies do business with Dubai and some are interested in registering with the DIFC. These firms are attracted by a dynamic business environment and by the welcome they receive. I am confident that our two financial centres will continue to work successfully in partnership to develop both conventional and Islamic finance.”

The forum brought together senior experts from both jurisdictions, who also discussed the future of asset management, comparing the challenges that face the sector and opportunities available.

The seminar also highlighted the importance of Dubai as a gateway to the MENA and Asian regions. Dubai’s support for innovation in the financial sector was also considered as key for international companies in the finance and banking sector, especially with the trend going towards offering a combination of products instead of a single structured product.

The seminar concluded with a special key note by Dr Nasser Saidi, Chief Economist, DIFC, who urged policy makers to revise their agendas to address current issues.

Panellists in the two roundtables held during the seminar included Jean-Marc Goy, Counsel for International Affairs, CSSF, Jean-Jacques Rommes, CEO, Luxembourg Bankers’ Association, Husam Hourani, Managing Partner, Al Tamimi & CO, Simon Gray, Director, Supervision, DFSA, A. Usama DeLorenzo, Associate Partner, Praesidium, Marc Saluzzi, Chairman, Association of the Luxembourg Fund Industry, Frédéric Genet, CEO, Société Générale Bank & Trust, William Wells, Senior Executive Officer, Schroders (Dubai) & Head of Intermediary Sales - Middle East and Haissam Arabi – Gulfmena Investment Management.

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