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Finance Series: investment-and-risk

Dubai as an International Financial Centre - the opportunity is there

New research identifies Dubai's chance to become the financial hub for Middle East and Africa. Improvements to financial infrastructure and the maturity of its financial markets are key to this opportunity.

Author(s): Professor Stephen Thomas - Cass Business School; Christina Makris - Cass Business School; Kamaldeep Panesar - Cass Business School

Cass Business School has published a report entitled: Dubai as an International Financial Centre: Threats and Opportunities. The report, sponsored by SWIFT and published at Sibos, aims to contribute to the body of knowledge on Dubai as an IFC (International Financial Centre) and to chart what steps need to be taken in order for Dubai to continue developing towards this goal.

Cass Professor of Finance, Steve Thomas said:

"Dubai is becoming increasingly important as a financial and trading entrepot for the Middle East and Whole of Africa (MEWA), with its remarkable recovery from the financial crisis testimony to its energy and creativity. The continuing strengthening of institutions and markets is key to securing ongoing progress at a turbulent time for both the region and the global economy."

The report outlines the advantages of Dubai's world class infrastructure, which has already attracted a diverse set of financial services companies. However, it also identifies areas where further work is needed, such as to improve the maturity of its equity and debt markets and its financial infrastructure.

The research, undertaken by Cass Consulting, outlines some additional steps that could help to attract further listings to the exchange and to encourage more foreign investors and financial firms to participate in Dubai's financial markets. For example, conducting a self-assessment based on the CPSS-Iosco Principles of Financial Market Infrastructure is an important step to ensure that Dubai's financial infrastructure adheres to industry best practices.

Alain Raes, Chief Executive, EMEA & APAC, SWIFT, said: "Dubai is growing in importance as a regional hub for trade and finance, and many businesses are building their presence here, SWIFT included. This report is important because it offers timely insights into Dubai's competitors in the region and how it compares to international financial centres around the world. The report also identifies what Dubai needs to do to achieve its ambitions."

Some of the themes of the report will be discussed at Sibos, SWIFT's annual conference, which this year is being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre. This is the first time that Sibos has been hosted in the Middle East and serves to illustrate the region's growing importance to global financial services. On Thursday 19 September, there will be a dedicated Africa & Middle East Day, including a session looking at the role of financial centres.

Sido Bestani, Head of Middle East & North Africa, SWIFT, said: "Against the background of rapid growth for Dubai's financial sector, this research looks at the major themes facing all financial centres, and helps position Dubai in the global IFC landscape. The topics examined in the report will also be explored at Sibos, during the dedicated panel discussion on the role of financial centres. We anticipate a lively discussion."

The report "Dubai as an International Financial Centre: Threats and opportunities" can be downloaded at the link below.

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