DIFC rolls out employee workplace savings scheme

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority.
Updated 06 August 2019

DIFC rolls out employee workplace savings scheme

Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC), an international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, aims to provide a progressive working environment for its clients.

In line with recent global employee benefit trends elsewhere, the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings (DEWS) scheme will see the evolution of end-of-service benefits within the center from a defined benefit structure to a funded and professionally managed defined contribution plan. The new plan, set to launch from January 2020, will offer a low-cost investment platform for receiving and managing mandatory employer end-of-service contributions on behalf of their employees and any added voluntary savings by employees, including cash or cash equivalent options for those members that do not want to take investment risk with their contributions.

DIFC has finalized the selection of the key service providers for the DEWS plan. Equiom, a global trust services provider, has been selected to act as master trustee of the DEWS plan, whilst Zurich Middle East has been selected as the scheme administrator. Zurich will be assisted in its duties by Mercer, as investment adviser, and Smart Pension as technology services provider.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “Today, DIFC is recognized as a world-class financial and professional services hub and we are continuing to pioneer transformational directives that will drive the future of finance. The new DEWS scheme will reinforce our position as a jurisdiction that attracts and retains the very best professional talent from across the globe in accordance with best practice, including employee benefits.” 

Equiom’s Global Chief Executive Officer Sheila Dean said: “The selection of Equiom as master trustee for the DEWS scheme is a huge honor for us and testament of the capability of the team. Having spent many years myself working with Middle Eastern employers to provide employee incentives I am delighted to see the DIFC introduce a mandatory plan which will not only secure accrued benefits but provide a platform to enable growth and a longer term outlook.” 

Walter Jopp, CEO of Zurich Middle East, said: “We are pleased to have been selected by Equiom in conjunction with the DIFC Authority in what is a transformational opportunity for better financial services in the region. We look forward to working with the DIFC Authority and Equiom in providing a truly world-class solution for the DIFC community.”

Amiri added: “It was critical for us that the partners selected to manage the DEWS scheme demonstrated outstanding capabilities, a well-tested track record and alignment with international best practices. Based on the extensive experience and sterling reputation of the selected service providers, having implemented and participated in similar schemes in a number of other jurisdictions, also in the region, we are confident that their collective expertise of over 70 years in this field will help secure better employee end-of-service benefits for the DIFC workforce. In line with the UAE’s National Agenda and Dubai Plan 2021, we are committed to creating a cohesive society and enhancing our business environment, as we deliver on our own 2024 growth strategy.”


Zain KSA celebrates key 5G milestone

Updated 14 December 2019

Zain KSA celebrates key 5G milestone

Zain KSA celebrated the finalization of the first phase of the Middle East’s largest 5G network in a special event on Dec. 8 at the Hilton Riyadh. The ceremony, held under the patronage of Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha, was attended by Zain KSA Chairman Prince Nayef bin Sultan bin Muhammed bin Saud Al-Kabeer, Governor of Communications and Information Technology Commission Dr. Muhammed bin Saud Al-Tamimi, Deputy Minister of Communications and Information Technology Haitham bin Abdulrahman Al-Ohali, and Zain KSA CEO Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al-Deghaither, along with other dignitaries in the ICT sector.

Prince Nayef said: “Zain KSA’s achievement accompanies the speedy development and innovative services of the digital revolution that the world around us is witnessing. This achievement is significant in its timing, as it coincides with the rapid rise of the Kingdom’s ranking in several prestigious international reports, specifically in the ICT sector. Another aspect that makes this achievement noteworthy is its size, as it offers the broadest coverage of the 5G network, which has positioned the Kingdom as the first in the Middle East, Europe and Africa.”

Prince Nayef pointed out the concurrence of Zain KSA’s accomplishment with the Kingdom’s growing pivotal role at the global economic level, and in becoming the first Arab country to preside over the G20 summit. He affirmed Zain’s commitment to keeping pace with the Kingdom’s economic ambitions in line with its position in employing young national talent. He said the Saudization rate in the company has reached 86 percent, with young Saudis assuming 92 percent of leadership positions.

CEO Al-Deghaither said through its completion of the first phase of the 5G network, Zain KSA confirms its commitment to becoming a key player in the ICT sector. “Zain KSA has made several significant achievements since its inception. Today, we proudly announce that the company has the widest 5G network coverage in the Kingdom and the region.” 

He added that the 5G technology will lead the Kingdom toward a new world with its substantial technologies and capabilities, which will be evident in various sectors through the Internet of Things and the business sector, in addition to other daily functions that will make customer experience easier and more effective.”

Al-Deghaither said that this step comes at a time when Zain KSA is witnessing its best operational performance by reaching the highest profit over the past two years, with SR380 million ($101.3 million) during the first nine months of 2019, and a total of SR332 million for 2018.

With the completion of the first phase of the 5G network, Zain KSA is now offering a range of packages of 5G services for individuals and businesses through a network of 2,600 towers distributed across 27 cities.