DIFC Wins International Award for Best Government Initiative at STEP Awards 2007



Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has won an international award for the ‘Best Government Initiative’ at the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Private Client Awards 2007 held in London.

Judges were impressed by the DIFC’s new Family Office Initiative, which is establishing a legal and regulatory framework for Family Offices working in the centre. A Family Office is currently not recognized by any other jurisdiction, however this new legislation will define a Family Office in a legal capacity for the first time.

A Family Office is a private office set up by a single family with the sole purpose of managing the wealth and assets of that family. It is used by a growing number of wealthy families to both safeguard the assets today and plan for the next generation. The challenges facing families, their businesses and assets are becoming more complex. By setting up a Family Office, families obtain expert guidance from in-house professionals on a wide range of issues.

The DIFC, the world’s fastest growing financial centre, was shortlisted along with established names – Isle of Man Government, Bahamas Financial Services Board and British Virgin Islands International Finance Centre.

“Winning this prestigious international award highlights how much DIFC has achieved in three short years and further recognises our role as a major player in the global financial industry,” said HE Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of DIFC.

Sandy Shipton, Executive Director, Wealth Management and Stephen Cutts, Director, Family Office and Trust Services at the DIFC, received the award.

Sandy Shipton added, “The Family Office Initiative is one of our latest projects and it’s pleasing that all the hard work that’s gone into it has been recognised by such a discerning body.”

STEP, which has nearly 13,000 members in 33 countries, is a group of highly qualified and influential professionals including lawyers, accountants, trustees and private bankers, all providing services to high net worth clients. The organization provides education, training, representation and networking for its members, who specialise in trusts and estates, executorship, administration and related taxes.

The STEP Private Client Awards also had categories for best accountancy, investment and charity teams; Barrister of the Year; Regional Awards for the Channel Isles & Isle of Man and North America; Outstanding Achievement and Lifetime Achievement Awards; and even an entry for ‘Worst Government Initiative of the Year’.

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