Dubai Emerges as Leading Hub for Global Family Businesses

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has solidified its position as a premier global hub for family businesses, attracting high-net-worth individuals and boasting a thriving ecosystem for wealth management.

The Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region's leading financial center is home to over 120 of the world's wealthiest families and individuals, with a combined net worth exceeding USD 1 trillion. Dubai's population is testament to this wealth concentration, ranking first in MEASA and among the top 22 globally for HNWIs (High-Net-Worth Individuals). According to a 2023 report, Dubai's residents include over 68,500 HNWIs, 206 centi-millionaires, and 15 billionaires.

DIFC's robust infrastructure and consistent growth, marked by a record-breaking year in 2023, have further fueled its appeal. The Centre boasts a deep talent pool with a workforce exceeding 41,500 and over 5,500 active registered companies.

Celebrating a Year of Family Wealth Expertise

DIFC established the world's first dedicated Family Wealth Centre in 2023 to empower family businesses and foster a flourishing ecosystem for global family wealth. To mark its first anniversary and significant progress, DIFC leadership recently convened a gathering of prominent family businesses and advisors.

"The UAE has long been a preferred destination for business and investment, and it aspires to become the regional hub for family businesses," said H.E. Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, during his keynote address. He emphasized Dubai's pivotal role as a global family wealth hub, offering exceptional resources for growth and preservation.

Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, highlighted Dubai and DIFC's rapid rise as the top choice for international family businesses. The Centre's growth and expertise solidify its role in shaping the family wealth landscape.

A Destination of Choice for Family Businesses

Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, attributed the Centre's success to its commitment to fostering a growth ecosystem for the financial sector. DIFC's focus on transparency, regulations, and knowledge-building has garnered the trust of leading financial institutions, including 230 banks and over 350 wealth and asset management firms. This momentum is further amplified by an influx of family businesses drawn to DIFC's lifestyle offerings and its world-class Family Wealth Centre.

With over 440 registered foundations and 600 active entities affiliated with prominent families, DIFC has witnessed a surge in interest for family wealth management solutions. The Centre's dedication to regulatory transparency and family confidentiality has fueled an 81% increase in single family offices and a 12% rise in holding companies year-on-year in 2023. To empower families further, DIFC launched a comprehensive guide on navigating wealth management, succession planning, and other crucial aspects in Dubai.

Future-Proofing Family Wealth

Aligned with the UAE's vision to support family businesses, DIFC introduced the Family Arrangements Regulations in 2023. These regulations offer benefits such as a private registry option, ensuring the utmost privacy and confidentiality for families. The regulations also provide certification for family businesses, enabling them to capitalize on benefits and incentives planned under the UAE Family Business Law.

The DIFC Family Wealth Centre serves as a global knowledge hub, offering best-in-class solutions for asset allocation, governance, succession planning, and philanthropy. The Centre's collaboration with the Innovation Hub empowers families to stay ahead of the curve with the latest technological advancements.

Family businesses are the backbone of the UAE's economy, contributing significantly to GDP, workforce, and private companies. By nurturing a thriving ecosystem for family wealth management, DIFC is not only empowering families but also strengthening the local economy.

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