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.”