DIFC's Third Knowledge Series Seminar Tells of New Retail Financial Services Available in DIFC

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) hosted a seminar today that focused on retail financial services, and discussed how recently-effected regulatory amendments now allows financial institutions within DIFC to offer services to retail clients.

Titled ‘Retail Financial Services in DIFC’, the event is the third in the Knowledge Series, a regular programme of seminars organised by DIFC to raise awareness about its regulations, infrastructure and business support services. Speakers at the event included officials from DIFC Authority, Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and leading financial institutions and legal firms in DIFC.

Abdulla Al Awar, Managing Director of DIFC Authority said: “The growing maturity of DIFC as a financial centre and increased convergence across financial markets led to amendment  of regulations to allow institutions based in DIFC to serve retail clients.  DIFC seeks to constantly evolve and update its regulatory and legal framework in accordance with industry trends.”

Speaking at the event, Paul Koster, CEO of the DFSA, said: “The DFSA’s introduction of a retail model is a demonstration of our commitment to create an environment that allows firms in the DIFC to continue to develop, while still meeting appropriate international standards.” He emphasised that firms in the DIFC "can expect the DFSA to continue to be proportionate in our actions and transparent in our processes.”

Topics that were addressed at the Knowledge Series event included Local and International Regulatory Developments; Data Protection; Wealth Management; and Retail Banking

Peter Hodgins, Partner, Clyde & Co LLP added: "The retail insurance industry in the GCC continues to experience significant growth. Market penetration is increasing as customer awareness of both conventional insurance and Islamic insurance (Takaful) products develops. In our experience at Clyde & Co, the DIFC offers insurers an excellent platform from which to manage and develop their retail insurance operations in the region. The continued development of the DIFC's legal and regulatory framework and the broader infrastructure will only encourage clients in this exciting sector of the retail financial services industry."

Paul G. Killik, Senior Partner of Killik & Co LLP said: "The sophisticated structure and detailed thought given to the DIFC together with the Retail Endorsement recently granted by the DFSA allows Killik & Co to remain true to its roots of helping the retail saver.  We are very impressed with the approach to regulation".

Regulatory amendments made in July 2008 to the DFSA’s Rulebook made it possible for banks and financial service companies based in the DIFC to provide financial services to retail clients. Initially, the DIFC was established as a solely wholesale financial services environment in which registered firms were not allowed to deal with retail clients. The recent regulatory amendments allow duly endorsed financial institutions to expand their operations to a broader retail client base.

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