Top International Regulator Takes Over at DFSA

David Knott steps in to lead the Middle East's first world-class financial capital market

The Board of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today announces the appointment of one of the world's most senior financial Regulators to become its Chief Executive Officer.

Dr. Habib Al Mulla, Chairman of the DFSA, announced that David Knott is to take over as CEO from 1 June 2005. Mr Knott's appointment follows three months search led by the Board's Nominations and Governance Committee.

Mr. Knott was for three years executive chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). He was also Chairman of the Technical Committee of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) - a role which involved leadership in the international response to the corporate governance crisis of 2001/2002 and participation in the work of the Financial Stability Forum. ASIC is responsible in Australia for all conduct and governance issues, the operation of Securities markets, takeovers, financial reporting, market, disclosure and consumer protection.

Dubai's aim in attracting such a high profile regulator is to strengthen the position of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) as the Middle East's first world Class capital market. Mr Knott's appointment is for an initial term of 3 years and is subject to renewal. He is attending a meeting of the Board of the DFSA in Dubai tomorrow (Monday) where his appointment is due to be formally adopted.

Dr. Al Mulla said:

"The appointment of Mr Knott follows an international search conducted by the DFSA Board's Nominations Committee, with the active involvement of the full Board. The engagement of an international regulator of such high calibre is evidence of a new and mature phase in the DFSA's development. We are clearly and firmly established as a regulatory authority with the same independence, expertise and transparency as the Regulators in leading international markets in Europe, America and Asia."

"International institutions will have certainty and the peace of mind of knowing that when they obtain a regulatory Licence to operate in the DIFC, the regulations they operate under are transparent, of world Class quality, very familiar to them as they are based on best practice in London, Wall Street and other major financial centres - and controlled by a senior regulator whom they know and respect."

"Once again Dubai is setting the pace. We are determined to supply the missing link in the global economy."

"Until the emergence of the DIFC, a central time zone of 1.6 billion people with an annual GDP of 1.5 trillion dollars has lacked any financial market comparable in quality to the Western markets of London, Frankfurt and New York and the Eastern markets of Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. Now the way is clear to create a powerful capital market that will channel Investment into the region, act as a motor of economic growth and gradually make a real difference in the lives of many people in the Middle East."

"The world's leading Financial Institutions expect their jurisdictions of choice to underpin their operations with firm and fair Regulation so that their risk is minimised and their reputations are secure."

"I am confident — because of his reputation, regulatory experience and record in both Securities and banking - that David Knott will now develop as robust and independent a Financial Services authority as exists anywhere in the global market."

David Knott said:

"Independent and principled Regulation is essential to the success of modern financial markets. Financial Institutions of integrity will no longer tolerate regulatory environments that expose them to reputation risk. This reality is well recognized by recent initiatives to further support and strengthen the DFSA."

"The aspirations of the Dubai International Financial Centre are exciting and ambitious. They Offer great opportunity to both international and regional Financial Institutions. I am very much looking forward to leading the regulatory agency whose work is so central to this success."