DIFC Governor Welcomes the Institute of Private Investors at Landmark Forum

In just three years the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has attracted nearly 500 top firms and a long list of the world's leading banks, a large group of high-profile private investors from the USA heard yesterday during a private conference at the DIFC.

In his welcoming address to the group of more than 50 members of the Institute of Private Investors in New York, His Excellency Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC, said that global interest in the centre was showing no signs of abating.

"In fact, with every inch we get closer to consolidating our position as the region's leading financial centre, the intensity of this interest deepens and grows,""he added.

Speaking on the emergence of the DIFC as the financial centre of choice between Europe and the Far East, Dr Bin Sulaiman said the success of the DIFC derived from the foresight in our approach, much of which resulted from visionary leadership demonstrated in a strategic plan being implemented by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

" As a key component of this strategy, the DIFC was established as a catalyst for the growth, development and diversification of Dubai's economy. It places on us some formidable demands, but they are very good ones: efficiency, integrity and transparency. These three attributes are strictly non-negotiable," Dr Bin Sulaiman emphasised.

"Around this building are 110 acres of prime real estate that, as you can see, will soon feature many more modern buildings of the highest calibre, some of them designed exclusively for residential, retail, leisure and hospitality purposes. So, the DIFC is not just a cluster of attractive office blocks - it is truly a world-class city-within-a-city."

He outlined some of the conditions that have proved highly conducive and attractive, especially for the financial services sector, including zero tax, 100 percent foreign ownership, no foreign exchange restrictions, a wholesale centre for qualified investors, an onshore capital market meeting international standards, and co-operation with local & international regulators.

Just as important, he said, was the way the DIFC conducted business to match Global Best Practice. "We have an internationally-recognised and respected legal framework in which regulations were enforced by an independent judiciary, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

Dr Bin Sulaiman told his guests that the DFSA had earned credibility and respect through several agreements with senior regulatory bodies around the world and through its solid and diligent performance.

"Hence, the DIFC matches the highest standards of transparency and governance."

He also described the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), housed in the DIFC, as "a fully-fledged stock market which is firmly on track to becoming the global exchange of choice between Western Europe and Asia."

A part of DIFC's mission was to position Dubai as a global gateway to the world's leading financial centres. "That, too, is already happening."

He said the DIFC was now able to meet the growing financial demands of the region, its booming population and its plentiful investment opportunities.

During their one-day tour of the DIFC the visitors also received detailed briefings on several aspects of the Centre's operations and activities from several senior DIFC executives.

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