Region to become financial services powerhouse



  • Around $1.8 billion was raised through initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2004
  • Abundant domestic liquidity, strong corporate earnings, low interest rates and an increase in confidence has driven growth in the market.
  • Dubai leads with establishment of DIFC

The Middle East holds the greatest potential for international financial services in the world, a senior DIFC personnel told an enthusiastic audience of bankers, world leaders, ministers and other key decision makers in Washington DC on Saturday. Speaking at the prestigious Institute of International Finance (IIF) Annual Meeting at Washington which was held alongside the Annual IMF meeting, Mr Assem O. Kabesh, Chief Development Officer of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), clearly spelled out the dynamic future awaiting the Middle East and Dubai.

Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman, Director General of the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority, said:

“The Middle East region is witnessing a phenomenal growth with unprecedented opportunities for all. The financial services sector has performed very well in the last year and double digit growth is expected to continue. Firms throughout the region have exploited demand for shares by raising capital through equity markets. Around $1.8 billion was raised through initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2004 and this figure has more than doubled in the first six months of 2005.”

Abundant domestic liquidity, strong corporate earnings, low interest rates and an increase in confidence has fuelled capital markets growth by over 50%.

Mr Kabesh commented:

“The DIFC has been put in place to soak up this liquidity and to provide a truly global point of entry into this most exciting and dynamic of regions. Not to mention that this is done within an environment regulated to the highest standards and supported by world-class legal framework. ”

With the opening of the Dubai International Financial Exchange, the DIFC is now firmly on its way to becoming a financial centre of international reputation. An independent regulator, a judicial system based on a regulatory framework derived from international best practices, along with two billion consumers and US$1.8 trillion of GDP in the region, DIFC offers a very vibrant market to the international business community.

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