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  • 2014

    • 15 December 2014 — DFSA Congratulates UAE National Graduates

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      Dubai, UAE, 14 December 2014: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) held its annual Tomorrow's Regulatory Leaders (TRL) awards ceremony last week. The awards mark the successful completion of a two-year development programme for UAE Nationals.

      The programme prepares newly graduated UAE Nationals to become financial services regulators. Initially, graduates join the DFSA as TRL Associates and over the two years undergo over 400 hours of class room training along with on-job coaching delivered by regulatory colleagues, where they benefit from a wealth of regulatory experience and gain an international perspective. The programme is written and delivered by DFSA regulators with training materials being updated every year to reflect changes in legislation and the market environment. The DFSA also works closely with many DIFC-based firms to provide the Associates with the opportunity to gain experience in financial services institutions as part of the TRL Programme. This results in them receiving first-hand knowledge of financial services issues and a better understanding of the regulated community.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA said, “The DFSA has been investing in developing young UAE Nationals to become leaders in the area of financial services regulation for eight years. To date, 24 people have graduated the TRL Programme and we have a further nine undergoing training. Currently, 35% of our regulatory workforce are UAE Nationals. We are very proud of these results and we will continue to deliver appropriate and sustainable benefits to UAE Nationals by equipping them for long-term career advancement and future leadership.”

      - End -

      For further information please contact:
      Ms Angharad Irving-Jones
      Head of Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1661
      Email: airvingjones@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor's notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial and ancillary services conducted in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose-built financial free-zone in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

      The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange.

      In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for supervising and enforcing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) requirements applicable in the DIFC. The DFSA has also accepted a delegation of powers from the DIFC Registrar of Companies (RoC) to investigate the affairs of DIFC companies and partnerships.

      Mr Ian Johnston was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA in June 2012. Mr Johnston joined the DFSA in November 2006, as a Managing Director heading the Policy and Legal Services Division.

      Mr Johnston was admitted to practice law in Australia in the early 1980's and spent most of his career in the private sector. He held a number of senior positions within the financial sector and was the CEO of one of Australia's major trustee companies. During that time, he played a leading role in the trustee industry and served on the National Council of the Trustee Corporations Association.

      In 1999, Mr Johnston joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission where he was Executive Director, Financial Services regulation, and spent several terms as an Acting Commissioner. In 2005, he took up a position as a special advisor with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

      Mr Johnston is a past Chairman of the Joint Forum, which comprises representatives of the major international regulatory standard-setters (IOSCO, IAIS and the Basel Committee). In November 2013, he was elected to the Steering Group of IOSCO's Growth and Emerging Markets Committee. He is also a member of the Technical Committee of the IAIS, the global standard-setting body for insurance regulation, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Standards Board.

    • 10 December 2014 — DFSA and DIFC Host Hong Kong Leaders Visiting the UAE

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      Dubai, UAE, 10 December 2014: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) hosted today, in Dubai, a delegation of 35 government, financial and business leaders from Hong Kong, led by The Honourable John Tsang, GBM, JP, Financial Secretary of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

      The delegation was welcomed by HE Essa Kazim, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Mr Saeb Eigner, Chairman of the DFSA, colleagues from the DIFC Authority and DFSA Boards and prominent members of the UAE government and business community.

      This high level visit attests to the increasing links between Dubai and Hong Kong as leading international financial centres in their respective time zones and as gateways for the fast growing trade and investment flows between China and the Middle East.

      Following the signing of regulatory agreements between the DFSA and the relevant Chinese regulators and the accompanying increased regulatory co-operation, the four leading Chinese banks have become well-established in the DIFC with rapidly growing business. The recent listing in the DIFC as well as in Hong Kong of the Hong Kong government's first Sukuk issue established the basis for further co-operation in the field of Islamic finance. The USD1 billion Sukuk, the first AAA rated government Sukuk, was oversubscribed some five times. Close co-operative relationships exist between the DFSA and financial market regulators in Hong Kong, including the Securities and Futures Commission and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

      Mr Saeb Eigner, Chairman of the DFSA said: "The DFSA has learned much from the highly successful development of Hong Kong as a global financial centre in a rapidly growing region of the world. We are honoured to have Hong Kong's Financial Secretary and his visiting delegation with us in Dubai today. One of our Board members, Mr Robert Owen, was the founding Chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. I believe the Centre today has become for our region what Hong Kong is for the region of Asia, building on the natural strengths of the UAE and implementing the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the founding President of the DIFC. His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's Crown Prince, welcomed the decision by the Hong Kong government to list its Sukuk on NASDAQ Dubai. This took place under the Dubai Islamic economy initiative, further exemplifying the strong economic and commercial ties. Under the leadership of DIFC's President, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's Deputy Ruler, the Centre has witnessed consistent year-on-year growth. The DIFC's Governor HE Essa Kazim visited China last year. I also visited Hong Kong and China, and we are all in the DIFC working under the energetic and clear co-ordinating leadership of the Governor to strengthen our relations with this important part of the world, in line with His Highness' vision. By way of example, we are particularly pleased to have with us at the DFSA a student from Beijing working under the Dubai Business Internship Programme, run under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, a further testament to the bridge-building that is taking place. Asia is a region we know well, and we are working on a number of initiatives between Hong Kong and China and Dubai to further develop this important relationship."

    • 18 September 2014 — DFSA Statement: ES Bankers (Dubai) Limited

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      Dubai, UAE, 18 September, 2014: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has, today, exercised its power under the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Regulatory Law 2004 to impose a restriction on ES Bankers (Dubai) Limited (ESBD) the effect of which is to restrict the firm from taking or paying deposits and to require the firm to maintain and preserve its assets.

      The imposition of the restriction was considered necessary, at this time, due to the failure of a Swiss-domiciled bank in the ES Group, Banque Privee Espirito Santo (BPES), to honour contractual commitments to ESBD and to repay deposits owed to ESBD in the normal course of business. Mr José Manuel Espirito Santo is Chairman of BPES. The failure of BPES to honour its legal obligations has seriously compromised ESBD's operations and solvency.

      Given the rapid onset of financial difficulties of the wider ES Group in recent months, the DFSA has taken a series of regulatory actions to protect the interests of depositors and other clients of the DIFC bank. These included actions under the Regulatory Law restricting the bank from transferring any assets to other ES Group companies and requiring a Manager to act in place of the Board of Directors of ESBD (with effect from 11 August 2014). The DFSA also suspended the status of Mr Ricardo Espirito Santo Silva Salgado as an Authorised Individual, as the DFSA considered Mr Salgado no longer to be a fit and proper person to be a Licensed Director of the bank.

      ESBD is a bank operating in the DIFC, licensed by the DFSA. It is part of the Espirito Santo Group (ES Group) of companies, and is a subsidiary of Espirito Santo Financial Group S.A. (ESFG), which is domiciled in Luxembourg.

      As a DIFC bank, ESBD is not permitted to deal with retail clients, nor to accept deposits from UAE clients.

    • 10 September 2014 — DFSA Releases Findings of Corporate Governance Review in DIFC

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      Dubai, UAE, 10 September 2014: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) recently concluded a thematic review of the corporate governance of firms licensed to provide financial services in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The review focussed on twelve themes fundamental to good corporate governance including management structures and practices, systems and controls, internal audit and management information flows.

      While the DFSA routinely reviews the quality of governance in regulated businesses in the DIFC, this review is the first full scale corporate governance review and is the first occasion on which the DFSA has issued a Report on this subject.

      The DFSA generally found a good level of compliance by institutions and that governance structures and arrangements generally reflected the nature, scale and complexity of the businesses reviewed. However, the practices of some institutions fell short of their own stated policies. The DFSA noted that governance arrangements and responsibilities often did not align to business plans and strategies and that those institutions need to comply with their stated polices or amend them to reflect current practices.

      A significant finding of the review, documented in the Report, was that firms often did not carry out structured, periodic reviews of their Governing Bodies and their committees, or their effectiveness. The Governing Body is generally a company's Board of Directors.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive Officer of the DFSA said: "The findings of the review provide a benchmark and reference that should be used by institutions to assess their corporate governance frameworks and practices. The DFSA is working to enhance the quality of governance of regulated businesses in the DIFC and where we detect governance failures we will rectify them through supervisory methods or enforcement action."

      The Report of the findings can be accessed on the DFSA website.

    • 1 September 2014 — Bawabaty — DFSA Congratulates UAE Nationals on Completion of Summer Training Programme

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      Dubai, UAE, 1 September 2014: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) last week congratulated Ms Noora Gargash and Mr Sultan Qabeel on their successful completion of the DFSA's Summer Training Programme as part of Bawabaty initiative.

      Both received a completion certificate for their achievement working for eight weeks with DFSA's Finance and IT departments respectively.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA said: "The DFSA is proud to provide developmental programmes that provide financial education within the Emirati community. The DFSA is also committed to providing the time and resources required to create a solid platform for developing young talent in the Emirati community, equipping them with skills and expertise in the financial services industry, particularly in areas of personal finances and work ethic."

      "I hope that the two individuals have learned valuable skills through the DFSA's Summer Training Programme that will help them in developing their skill sets and future careers, added Mr Johnston."

      Ms Noora Gargash, Finance undergraduate, Zayed University said: "The DFSA is a globally respected and independent regulator with high responsibilities; hence I chose to join its Summer Training Programme to enhance both my professional and personal skills in relation to finance."

      Mr Sultan Qabeel, Information Technology undergraduate, HCT Dubai Men's College said: "One of the most things I wanted to achieve is to enrich my knowledge, gain experience and develop my network as those are assets that I need in the future. I believe I have accomplished them greatly here in DFSA with the help of my co-workers and managers."

      Mr Waleed Saeed Al Awadhi, Director, Corporate Affairs of the DFSA said: "The DFSA is committed in contributing to the awareness of the Emirati community aligning with the vision of the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The DFSA launched Bawabaty in March earlier this year and is one of our corporate social responsibility initiatives, that aims to raise awareness of the financial services industry to the UAE National community. Under Bawabaty, meaning 'My Gateway', the Summer Training Programme was developed to allow UAE National undergraduates to have the experience of working at the DFSA."

    • 19 August 2014 — DFSA Welcomes Changes Resulting from New Amendment Law

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      Dubai, UAE, 19 August 2014: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, has enacted the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), DIFC Laws Amendment Law 2014. The Law, which amends the Regulatory Law 2004 and various other DIFC laws, will come into force on Thursday, 21 August 2014 and will make a number of significant changes to the DFSA's regulatory regime.

      The amendments simplify and improve the structure and process for DFSA regulatory decisions and for appeals against those decisions. Under the changes, the DFSA will make all first instance decisions and must follow specified procedures designed to ensure its decisions are fair and reasonable. The process for appealing against DFSA decisions will be simplified with the Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT) continuing as an independent tribunal but with a revised role of reviewing DFSA decisions. The Regulatory Appeals Committee (RAC) which used to hear appeals from DFSA decisions will be abolished (as its role will now be undertaken by the FMT.

      The changes also strengthen the DFSA's supervisory and enforcement powers in line with international practice. A new provision has been introduced which prohibits misleading, deceptive, fraudulent or dishonest conduct related to financial products or services in the DIFC. New powers are also given to the DFSA to suspend a licence or registration for up to twelve months and to prohibit Firms from using misleading names. The DFSA already has the right to withdraw licences.

      The current framework for the supervisory oversight of Auditors in the DIFC is also improved by, for example, introducing the registration of Audit Principals, strengthening Rules on Auditor independence and making other changes to ensure consistency with international auditing standards.

      Also, the Collective Investment Law 2010 is amended to allow the creation of a new category of fund, called a “Qualified Investor Fund” (QIF). This type of fund would be available to professional investors willing to make an investment of at least USD 500,000. Each QIF would be limited to 50 investors. As an addition to the existing categories of DIFC funds, the new QIF rules provide for lower regulation of funds specifically designed for higher net worth investors.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive Officer of the DFSA said: “These amendments are an important step in simplifying and improving the structure and procedures for decision making and review of DFSA decisions. They will also strengthen DFSA supervisory and enforcement powers, improve the supervisory oversight of auditors and provide new opportunities for fund managers and investors. They are considered desirable and appropriate for the maturity of the DIFC, given that it has now experienced a decade of operations. They also ensure that the regulatory regime continues to evolve to reflect best international practice.”

      The Amendments to DIFC laws, together with associated amendments to DFSA Rules, will come into force on Thursday, 21 August 2014 and are available on the DFSA website under: Notice of Forthcoming Amendments to Legislation 2014.

    • 16 June 2014 — DFSA Signs Agreement with UK Financial Regulator

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      Dubai, UAE, 16 June 2014: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) last week entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Kingdom's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).

      At a meeting in London, Mr Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the PRA and a Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, and Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA, signed the MoU on behalf of their respective authorities.

      The PRA was established in April 2013 and is a part of the Bank of England. It is responsible for the prudential regulation and supervision of banks, building societies, credit unions, insurers and major investment firms.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA said: "The strong links between UK financial firms and the Dubai International Financial Centre make the PRA the DFSA's most important regulatory relationship outside the UAE. The PRA is the home regulator of a number of significant firms authorised by the DFSA to conduct business in and from the DIFC.

      “I have already, in April 2013, signed a similar, complementary MoU with my counterpart at the Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates the conduct of financial firms. These formalised arrangements for cooperation and information sharing recognise the reliance placed by us on the quality of regulatory standards administered in our respective jurisdictions,” said Mr Johnston.

    • 27 May 2014 — DFSA Signs Agreement With Egyptian Regulator

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      Dubai, UAE, 27 May 2014: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has finalised an important Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA).

      The MoU was signed in Dubai by Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA and by Mr Sherif Samir Samy, Chairman of EFSA, in Cairo.

      The EFSA was established in 2009 and is responsible for supervising and regulating non-banking financial markets and instruments including the Capital Market, the Exchange, Insurance Services, Mortgage Finance, Financial Leasing, Factoring and Securitisation. The EFSA performs its duties to ensure markets' stability and the protection of its participants.

      The agreement is designed to enhance information sharing and co-operation between the two authorities in important aspects of their particular supervisory roles.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA said: "The DFSA and the Egyptian regulator have enjoyed a good and co-operative relationship since the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) was established. The DFSA and the Capital Market Authority of Egypt signed our first MoU as early as September 2006. It was the DFSA's first MoU with another securities regulator in the Middle East, outside the UAE. We are delighted that this supplementary arrangement, reflecting the broader jurisdiction and additional responsibilities of the CMA's successor, the EFSA, reconfirms this link. It is particularly pleasing that the DFSA, as one of the youngest authorities in the region, has such ties with the regulator of the oldest capital markets in the Middle East."

      Mr Sherif Samy, Chairman of the EFSA said: "We were keen to sign this agreement due to the DFSA's growing role and activity witnessed from companies across both jurisdictions." He added, "I look forward to closer co-operation between the two regulators."

    • 17 March 2014 — DFSA Launches Bawabaty — a Financial Services Awareness Initiative for the Local Community

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      Dubai, UAE, 17 March 2014: The DFSA announced the creation of a new initiative today. Bawabaty meaning 'My Gateway' is a DFSA idea to reach out to the local community, and in the first instance, will target the UAE youth sector through a series of seminars and events. Bawabaty aims to address topics such as business ethics and financial literacy. Facilitating learning and understanding of the financial services industry as a whole will better provide young UAE Nationals with the skills and knowledge that employers typically look for.

      The principal objectives of Bawabaty are to 1) to meet the growing needs of UAE National university graduates wishing to pursue a career in financial services; 2) to support lifelong learning opportunities for our local community; and 3) to provide community education in financial services, in the UAE.

      Bawabaty's inaugural event held at the DIFC Centre of Excellence today focused on 'Integrity at Work' and saw the DFSA partnering with the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI). The workshop included individual voting machines, realtime results and lively debates, providing participants with the unique opportunity to vote on a range of ethical challenges, drawn from real-life situations from the workplace.

      CISI, the largest respected professional body for those who work in the securities and investment industry in the UK, evolved from the London Stock Exchange. CISI has more than 40,000 members in 110 countries. The DFSA chose to partner with the CISI for the inaugural event as it reflected the standards and professional aspirations that the DFSA has for professional conduct in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

      Mr Waleed Saeed Al Awadhi, Director, Corporate Affairs of the DFSA said: “It is the DFSA's wish to align with the vision of the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in that we realise that strengthening the knowledge economy will strengthen competitiveness in business. Our wish is to provide a platform for our local community to come together to learn more about the financial services industry, particularly in areas that we are faced with every day such as personal finances and work ethics. Bawabaty will partner with professional organisations to ensure that our local community are given the skills and tools needed to play an active part in the workforce”.

      He added: “Our plans for 2014 include a summer training programme; a financial services training programme and the continuation of our Universities Outreach. We hope to raise awareness of differing aspects of financial services and increase employability skills amongst UAE Nationals”.

      Highlights of the inaugural workshop included lively, well-informed and instructive discussions, allowing for fruitful exchanges of ideas, experiences and opinions between the participants on wide ranging ethical issues faced in the business environment in the UAE.

    • 09 February 2014 — DFSA Obtains Court Orders Against Deutsche Bank AG

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      Dubai, UAE, 9 February 2014: The DIFC Courts have declared that Deutsche Bank AG (Dubai International Financial Centre branch), was in material non-compliance with requirements to produce information and documents to the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

      The DFSA filed proceedings in the DIFC Courts on 31 October 2013 seeking orders that Deutsche Bank AG deliver information and documents, relating to a DFSA investigation into the conduct of Deutsche Bank AG.

      The DFSA brought the Court proceedings for the purpose of enforcing compliance with two investigative Notices served on Deutsche Bank AG requiring information and documents to be delivered to the DFSA.

      An investigative Notice is a tool used by many regulators to assist them to obtain information and documents that relate to their investigations.

      Deutsche Bank AG consented to the Court Orders and agreed to produce specified information and documents to the DFSA within 28 days and ensure that any consolidated response is verified by a statement of truth.

      Deutsche Bank AG also agreed to pay the DFSA's costs in respect of the proceedings.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA said: “The DFSA's powers to request information and documents are important regulatory tools that assist the DFSA in conducting supervisory and enforcement activities. Where a person, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a DFSA Notice requiring it to deliver information and documents, the DFSA will enforce compliance with such a Notice by seeking orders in the DIFC Courts.”

      The DFSA will make no further comment in respect of the matter as the investigation is ongoing.

    • 21 January 2014 — Dubai Regulator Strengthens Links With Hong Kong and Asia

      Hong Kong, 21 January 2014: In order to further strengthen relations in financial services between Dubai, Hong Kong and Asia, the Chairman of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), Mr Saeb Eigner, delivered an address in Hong Kong on the opening morning of the seventh Asian Financial Forum. The forum was attended by 2,400 delegates from Asia, Europe and America, where finance ministers, central bankers, heads of governments and business leaders gathered to discuss economic developments and business trends in China and the rest of Asia.

      Mr Eigner, Chairman of the DFSA said: "The focus of this year's forum was the challenges and opportunities powering world growth. We all know that the UAE is highly competitive as a trading and financial hub. Financial institutions in Dubai and the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) are playing a central role in driving trade, investment and infrastructure finance. The future will belong to vibrant cities like Hong Kong and Dubai which continue to pioneer, innovate and implement strategies quickly and efficiently with visionary leadership and efficient governments."

      Mr Eigner added: "Dubai has been successful in attracting major global organisations by being a regional business hub. The emirate's growth plays testament to the founding father of Dubai and now through the skill and exemplary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai."

      Dubai enjoys excellent trade and finance relationships with Hong Kong and the rest of Asia. These will continue to grow in 2014, including in the Islamic finance arena. Since His Highness the Ruler of Dubai announced the initiative for Dubai to be the global hub for the Islamic economy, plans are moving ahead, with the necessary legislation already in place. In 2013, the DFSA witnessed many successful issues of sukuk on NASDAQ Dubai, where USD $6 billion worth of sukuk were listed, up from USD $1 billion in 2012.

      Mr Eigner added: "The highly international nature of the DIFC causes us at the DFSA to place great emphasis on international collaboration with other regulators in supervisory colleges of the world's largest financial institutions, as well through active participation in the work of the global financial sector standard-setters; the Basel Committee, the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, the International Association of Insurance Supervisors and the Islamic Finance Services Board. We currently have nearly 100 bi-lateral Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with other regulators worldwide".

      Due to the highly international nature of Dubai and the DIFC, the DFSA has placed great emphasis in its work on international co-operation and collaboration. This has included building regulatory relationships with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and with the Reserve Bank of India. Asia is now a key driver of the Centre's growth.