DFSA Showcases World's First 21st Century Regulator

The first Financial Services regulator to be established in the 21st century, the DIFC Financial Services Authority (DFSA), today held an in-depth launch for legal and technical fraternity, and media, at the Law Society in Chancery Lane, London. The launch showcased the legal establishment and regulatory framework of the DFSA, which is located in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

The launch was chaired by Michael Blair QC, former General Counsel to the UK FSA. Mr Blair is a Member of the Regulatory Council responsible for overseeing the DFSA and the Chairman of its Legislative Committee. The launch provided attendees with an in-depth look at the creation and structure of the world’s newest Financial Services regulator.

Mr Blair explained the genesis of the DFSA and its regulatory structure, and the consultative process the organisation went through as it began to draft an entirely new legal and regulatory system designed to govern all civil and commercial operations within the new financial centre.

Handing over to Dr Habib Al Mulla, Chairman of the DFSA Regulatory Council, Dr Al Mulla explained how the vision of the Dubai International Financial Centre and the DFSA, grew from a need for a new financial centre to fill the gap in the 24-hour financial markets time zone.

‘Amazingly, before the DIFC, a central time zone of 1.6 billion people with an annual GDP of $1.5 trillion dollars had nowhere to invest locally and build their wealth. It is one of the world's greatest untapped markets - and it was clear that creating a new financial centre in Dubai, built to the highest international standards, was the solution. It would provide that opportunity, and in so doing, it would supply the missing link in the global economy’, Dr Al Mulla said.

David King, Acting Chief Executive of the DFSA, took the attendees through a detailed description of the DFSA’s legal basis, including the five legislative steps at Federal and Dubai level that were required to bring the Dubai International Financial Centre into being, including the first amendment to the UAE Constitution since its creation in 1971.

He went on to illustrate in detail the enacted laws, rules and regulations that will govern the operations of the DFSA as it begins to regulate financial and Ancillary Services within the Centre, and explained the international standards on which this system has been based.

‘We are the world’s newest Financial Services regulator, fully independent, in the world’s newest financial centre. We have written a legal system specifically designed for the centre, and we will ensure that the highest international standards of conduct are applied and maintained within the DIFC.

‘International institutions will have the peace of mind of knowing that, when they locate in the DIFC, the regulations they will operate under, and their application, will be crystal clear, of world quality and will be very familiar to them because they are based on the best practices of London, Wall Street and other major financial jurisdictions. All our laws, rules and regulations can be viewed on the DFSA website at

‘They will be also operating under the watchful eye of the DFSA, a fully independent regulatory authority specifically created for the DIFC. They will enjoy an operating environment in which they can create a real and vibrant capital market that will channel Investment into the region, act as a motor of economic growth and gradually make a real difference to the lives of many people.’

Mr King also paid tribute to the work of his colleagues in creating the DFSA.

‘Building the DFSA on its cornerstone of international standards has been an immense task, and it has required the input of some of the finest legal and regulatory minds around the world. I commend the brilliant work of the DFSA and the Regulatory Council, who have drafted and refined the bulk of this enormous legislative programme’, Mr King said.

‘It is an exciting time to become part of the world’s financial markets and the global economy, and we look forward to the continuing development of the DFSA, the DIFC and Dubai’, Mr King said.