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DIFC employment back to boom-year levels, up 16% to 14,000 staff as regional financial hub gains traction

Posted on 21 January 2013 with no comments from readers

What a contrast to Bahrain where banks have been quietly shutting up shop and firing staff. In the past year the Dubai International Financial Centre boosted its workforce by 16 per cent to 14,000, back to the level last seen before the global financial crisis struck five years ago.

Dubai ranked as the top financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, and is placed among the top five global players, alongside Singapore, Hong Kong, London and Shanghai, where international firms want to open their offices.

New names

In the past year the number of registered companies in the DIFC free zone increased by seven per cent to 912 of which 345 are regulated by the authority. Many of DIFC’s current clients opted to grow their physical presence by expanding their current office space by up to 10,000 square feet, though acres of space remain in empty towers within the zone. It could accomodate more than twice the current number of staff.

But the DIFC is now the location of choice for 19 of the world’s top 25 banks, 11 of the world’s top 20 money managers, eight of the top 10 insurance companies, and six of the top 10 legal firms, solidifying its reputation as a business community.

CEO Jeff Singer commented: ‘Dubai’s unique proposition and geographical positioning provide unrivalled opportunities in terms of connectivity and accessibility to the thriving Middle East, Asian and African markets. The growth we have witnessed within DIFC reflects the ongoing demand among international businesses for a presence in the region.

‘Our strategy remains the same and by capitalising on our world-class infrastructure and internationally recognised legislative and regulatory framework, we are creating a platform for global and regional companies to build fruitful and sustainable business relationships within a comprehensive financial environment.’

Empty towers

Still the challenge of filling up the empty office towers remains. Those directly managed by the DIFC are almost full but there are many others occupied by barely a soul. How long will it take to fill them up?

Well if you simply compound present growth rates then five to six years, and less if it accelerates. Things could be a lot worse.

Posted on 21 January 2013 Categories: GCC Economics, GCC Real Estate, GCC Stock Markets

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