Today the First World-Class Financial Centre in Middle East Opens for Business in Dubai

In a moment of history, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the DIFC, has issued the first batch of laws that formally establish and govern the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and its independent regulatory authority, the DIFC Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

Dr Habib Al Mulla, Chairman of the DFSA Regulatory Council, welcomed the announcement.

‘This is magnificent news for the DFSA and the DIFC – the DIFC is now open for business. It is the first time in the region that an entire legal system has been created from scratch, tailor-made for a new financial centre. Our laws are an innovative creation and cover the full range of commercial and civil activities for the DIFC. They meet or exceed the standards of the laws found in other major financial centres around the world, and as a result they will provide confidence and familiarity to the institutions who locate in the DIFC.

‘The laws include a powerful Regulatory Law, which is the cornerstone of the regulatory scheme and governs all the financial and Related Ancillary Services conducted in or from the DIFC, a Companies Law that enables companies to be created and recognised within the centre, a robust Contract Law governing contractual relationships, an Arbitration Law written to international arbitration standards, a Law Regulating Islamic Financial Business creating the regulatory framework for the conduct of Islamic Financial Business, a Markets Law and others soon to come which cover further areas.

‘These world-class laws have attracted the attention of some of the biggest names in global finance. DFSA is well advanced in processing a significant number of Licence applications and we expect the first operating Licences will be granted shortly to some of the world’s leading international Banks and financial institutions’, Dr Al Mulla said.

The signing of the outstanding legislation puts Dubai on a par with other major world-class financial jurisdictions in Europe, America and Asia, where standards of efficiency, transparency and Regulation operate to the highest levels.

‘The DFSA has created a legal and regulatory framework that is absolutely world-class. We have built the DIFC using the best practices of financial centres across the globe as our example, and we have ensured that international standards will now be applied to the specific market in Dubai and the Middle East region’, Mr David King, Chief Executive of the DFSA said.

The issuing of the laws follows the recent approval by the Government of the United Arab Emirates of a federal decree to establish the DIFC and the enactment on September 16 by His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the Dubai Law which establishes and defines the functions to be carried out by the DIFC.

Thus, in the short space of just two and a half years, Dubai has created from scratch an entire legal and regulatory framework capable of operating to standards that meet or beat those applying in the world’s main financial centres.

The way is now clear for Dubai to attract the world’s leading financial and banking institutions and to create new growth and employment opportunities in the UAE and the wider region.

‘From today Dubai will supply the missing link in the global economy. The launch of the DIFC provides a financial market equal in quality to the Western markets of London, Frankfurt and New York and the Eastern markets of Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore, to a central time zone that is home to 1.6 billion people with an annual GDP of 1.5 trillion dollars’, Dr Al Mulla said.

Mr King added:

‘Now, at last, we have a market with the world Class legal framework, transparent operations and independent Regulation that will attract the attention and confidence of the global Investment and business communities.

‘For the first time, the world’s major Banks and Financial Institutions will be able to operate in the region within much the same, familiar framework to which they are accustomed in Tokyo, London, Frankfurt and New York.

‘This means that leading Financial Institutions will have the peace of mind of knowing that, when they locate in the DIFC, the regulatory regime is world Class and its independence is enshrined in law’.