Dubai hits target in wealth management ambitions

The bright lights of Dubai are attracting some of the biggest names in global finance. (Shutterstock)
Updated 21 September 2018
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Dubai hits target in wealth management ambitions

  • Dubai is fast becoming a global center for wealth management, according to new figures from the emirate’s financial hub.
  • Fidelity International, the Bermuda-based investment management group, announced it too was to set up in the DIFC

The Dubai International Financial Center on Sunday announced it had passed a landmark of 200 firms in the fast-growing wealth and asset management sector that had chosen to be based in the center, a rise of 6 percent from the halfway point last year. Some 13 of the top 25 firms in the wealth management sector are included in that total.

The number of financial funds under management by DIFC entities has leapt by 240 percent in the same period, from 25 to the latest figure of 60, making it the largest funds domicile in the region, the DIFC said. 

Arif Amiri, chief executive of DIFC, said: “The wealth and asset management sector is a cornerstone of a thriving financial services industry, and as the DIFC has developed into a top global financial center, it has become one of our hallmarks. Major financial institutions see Dubai and the DIFC as a preferred platform to access investment opportunities and sources of investment across regional and global markets.

“To date, the center has seen consistent and significant growth in this field, reflecting the industry’s ongoing confidence in Dubai and the DIFC. We expect to see this growth continue as we introduce new regulations to our attractive legislative and business environment in line with our ambitious 2024 Strategy. Our flexible structures, which also benefit private wealth management and family trusts, continue to give us the edge,” he added.

The DIFC is committed to a ten-year strategy of trebling in size by 2024 in terms of the number of member firms and employees as well as the value of assets under management.

In the first half of 2018, the DIFC attracted three of the biggest names in global finance, Chinese firm Everbright Group and American giants State Street Global Advisers and Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance.

 

 Last month, Fidelity International, the Bermuda-based investment management group, announced it too was to set up in the DIFC.

“These companies benefit from three types of fund structures, as well as tried-and-tested special-purpose companies and insurance special-purpose vehicles, used in structured financing transactions or related to entities of substance. The DIFC’s international-standard regulatory framework and flexible business environment are already paying dividends to global and regional companies within the Center’s community,” the center said.

In total, the DIFC reported a 17 percent rise in new financial institutions registering in the first half of the year, bringing the total to 2,003 with a combined workforce of nearly 23,000.

That period coincided with the decline of Abraaj Capital, the private equity fund manager that has been at the heart of the DIFC since it opened in 2004, but which was ultimately owned by a Cayman Islands holding company.

Financial and legal experts believe there will be no significant damage to Dubai from the Abraaj affair. Habib Al Mulla, one of the UAE’s leading corporate lawyers, told Arab News recently: “I don’t believe Dubai’s reputation has been damaged. The DIFC entity is not involved. There are various Abraaj entities which are subject of different jurisdictions.”

Nigel Sillitoe, chief executive of market research group Insight Discovery, which specializes in wealth and asset management sectors, said: “In the past quarter our company has received more requests than ever to support asset management companies within the DIFC.

“The recent woes at Abraaj did make us think that business might slow down but so far we haven’t seen any impact.” 

The center enacted two new laws in March: The trust law, which provides an appropriate environment for the operation of trusts in the DIFC, and the foundations law, a new regime to provide greater certainty and flexibility for private wealth management and charitable institutions.

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The DIFC reported a 17 percent rise in new financial institutions registering in the first half of the year, bringing the total to 2,003 with a combined workforce of nearly 23,000.


DP World signs solar deal with ‘green champion’ SirajPower

Updated 21 November 2018
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DP World signs solar deal with ‘green champion’ SirajPower

  • The 22-year lease agreement announced on Tuesday will see UAE-based SirajPower initially deliver 15MW-worth of panels to Jafza
  • The deal forms part of DP World’s solar program which aims to ramp up use of sustainable and environmentally friendly energy sources across its facilities

LONDON: Global ports operator DP World has signed a deal with UAE-based SirajPower to install solar roof panels at its facilities in the Jebel Ali Freezone (Jafza) and National Industries Park as part the company’s efforts to reduce its energy consumption and cut costs.
The 22-year lease agreement announced on Tuesday will see UAE-based SirajPower initially deliver 15MW-worth of panels to Jafza.
The deal forms part of DP World’s solar program which aims to ramp up use of sustainable and environmentally friendly energy sources across its facilities. It follows the launch of the UAE’s first green storage and warehouse facilities at Jafza in June this year, with some cool storage facilities now entirely run on solar energy while other warehouses are becoming more energy efficient.
In late 2016, DP World announced the start of the construction of the largest solar rooftop project in the Middle East, with the commissioning of 88,000 rooftop solar panels across its Dubai facilities.
“Creating a sustainable business model through the implementation of green technologies is a core focus for DP World, and one of our key initiatives is our ground-breaking solar power program that will generate enough energy to power 4,600 homes on completion,” said Mohammed Al-Muallem, CEO and managing director, DP World, UAE region.
DP World has reduced its CO2 emissions intensity by 24 percent since 2008, Muallem added, in a statement on Tuesday.
SirajPower hopes the DP World deal as a springboard for regional growth, said Laurent Longuet, the company’s CEO.
“We witnessed a rapid growth in only three years and our plan now is to expand our offering to other emirates and countries in the GCC, as well as making a foray into the residential market to truly become the regional green champion,” he said.
SirajPower said it would open a branch in Jafza to support the installation of the new units. Construction is expected to take 18 months, the company said.
In 2015, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) launched the Shams Dubai solar initiative aimed at encouraging individuals and businesses to install PV panels to generate electricity and connect them to the Dewa network. The program supports government targets for Dubai to generate 25 percent of its energy needs from solar by 2030.
SirajPower has won contracts for 50MW-worth of the solar rooftop projects implemented under the Shams program to date.