UAE Federal Government grants key legislative approval enabling the Dubai International Financial Centre to become operational

The Federal Government of the United Arab Emirates has today announced that final Federal legislation to formally enable the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to become operational has been signed by UAE President Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

The Board of Directors of the DIFC Authority strongly welcomed the news of the issuance of the Federal Decree (No. 35 of 2004). “This is another very positive step in our evolution”, said Anis Al Jallaf, Chairman of the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority. “With this Decree, the UAE Government has endorsed Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s vision for positioning Dubai as a leading global financial centre. The Federal Decree is also an endorsement of the efforts of the DIFC, its people and the Government of Dubai for preparing the Centre to commence its operations at the highest possible international standards.

Following the issuance of the Federal Decree, the enactment of the set of DIFC laws by the Government of Dubai in the near future will enable the DIFC to be fully open for business. We will be processing the numerous applications we have already received – many from the world’s premier financial institutions. We expect to announce many more commitments to the DIFC from leading financial institutions in the near future.’’

Over forty global financial institutions have already submitted applications to the Centre. With the enactment of the Federal Decree and the subsequent passage of the DIFC laws, these applications can now be processed, thereby enabling the issuance of their licenses in the near future. Among the institutions who have publicly announced their intent to use the DIFC as a base for regional operations are Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered, Julius Baer and Aon.

The DIFC will significantly and positively contribute to the transformation of the business and financial landscape in Dubai, the UAE and across the region,” Al Jallaf added. The potential of our region is immense. “Many of the world’s leading financial institutions have already decided to use the DIFC as their platform of choice for capturing this regional opportunity and many more will follow their lead.”

The DIFC concept is a major component of the strategy of the Government of Dubai for accelerating the economic development of the Emirate and of the UAE. A key component of the DIFC concept is the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), the first international exchange of the region that will serve as a gateway for the flow of capital into and from the region. Another key component of the DIFC is the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the independent regulator for financial and related ancillary services in the DIFC. The independence of the regulator has been an unwavering commitment of the Government of Dubai and an integral part of the DIFC vision as articulated by his H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum upon the launch of the initiative on February 16, 2002.

The CEO of DIFC Authority, Naser Nabulsi, resoundingly confirmed the importance and significance of the issuance of the Federal Decree for enabling the DIFC to cater to meet the expectations of the world’s financial community. He said: “Over 1 trillion dollars of wealth of the region is invested outside the region and up until now there has not been a realistic chance of its repatriation, management and deployment inside the region. Added to that is the growing desire for investors around the world to invest in this rapidly developing and high potential regional market. The opportunity for the DIFC and those who use it as a platform for their operations is clear. The Federal Decree paves the way for DIFC and its users to participate in the growth, development and prosperity of the region.

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