There were 463 regulated financial institutions in the DIFC as of 30 June, while the workforce reached 21,628 operators and “is expected to rise as new companies join the centre”, the DIFC said.
In the first half of the year, the centre made “significant progress” towards enhancing its physical infrastructure by leasing out an additional 144,000 square feet of commercial space.
“DIFC’s strong performance in the first half of 2017 confirms the centre’s position as the region’s leading financial centre. The DIFC ecosystem is second-to-none in this region in terms of business environment, infrastructure, scale and human capital, which allows companies in the centre to thrive,” said DIFC governor Essa Kazim.
Progress has also been made towards enhancing the centre’s activity in the booming fintech industry.
“The launch of FinTech Hive at DIFC has created a hub that connects cutting edge technology companies with leading financial institutions to drive innovation,” DIFC stated.
“These initiatives, coupled with DIFC’s steady growth, ensure that the centre is on track to achieve the targets set out in its 2024 Strategy, which will see DIFC triple in size and rank within the top 10 financial centres globally.”
Legal and regulatory headway
Since the beginning of the year, the centre also made legal and regulatory inroads by signing two memoranda of understanding (MoU) with Dubai Land Department (DLD) and Dubai Economy.
The MoU with DLD provides a mechanism for companies and funds in the DIFC to purchase and register properties in Dubai with the Land Department.
Meanwhile, the MoU with Dubai Economy allows companies operating within DIFC to obtain dual licenses to operate in mainland Dubai, allowing them to operate across the two jurisdictions.
Further infrastructure developments
The ongoing expansion of DIFC’s infrastructure includes two large development projects, the AED1bn (£205.7m, $272.2m, €230m) Gate Avenue at DIFC and the AED180m Exchange Building.
Gate Avenue at DIFC is on track to open in 2018, the DIFC said.
Upon completion, it will link the podium levels of all buildings located in DIFC, from the Gate Building to Central Park Towers, spanning across 660,000 square feet of built up area and 880 metres in total length.
“Gate Avenue will enhance the DIFC’s position as a 24/7 destination with over 200 dining, boutique, retail and entertainment options, as well as an iconic new mosque.”
DIFC’s new Exchange Building is on schedule for completion in the first quarter of 2018. The latest addition to DIFC Gate Village will provide 147,000 square feet of leasable space, including Nasdaq Dubai, offices and retail units.