Timing is everything as they say, and for Dubai’s private banking and wealth management sectors there’s a lot to be excited about as the fiscal stars begin to align.
Back in 2019, Dubai was named one of the world's top cities for high-net-worth individual (HNWI) inflows – and the UAE among the top 10 destinations of choice for the world's wealthiest people.
Then, when the pandemic hit in 2020 many of the emerging markets that surround the emirate had a massive public health crisis – whereas Dubai performed fantastically well.
Just recently, a study by New World Wealth – a research firm that tracks the wealth and the movements of millionaires, multi-millionaires, and billionaires globally – reported that Dubai’s population of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) rose to 54,000 in June 2021, up by 3.8 per cent from 52,000 last December.
Dubai is the wealthiest city in the Middle East & Africa (MEA) region and the 29th wealthiest city in the world – as well as being home to 165 centi-millionaires and 12 billionaires. The combined private wealth held by all Dubai residents with at least $1 million in property, cash, equities, and business interests increased 2.5 per cent to $530 billion in June, up from $517 billion in December 2020, the study NWW also found.
In a separate report, international property consultancy Knight Frank revealed the number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals in the Middle East is projected to increase 24.6 per cent in the next five years. The region will remain the fourth-largest wealth hub in the world.
And now as the long-awaited Dubai Expo prepares to open its door – welcoming millions of visitors across the five months – money experts say there has never been a better time to showcase the emirate’s appeal to a global audience of super wealthy investors.
Officially starting on October 1 and running until March 31, 2022, the Expo will be an exhibition of culture, technology, and architecture under the banner 'Connecting Minds and Creating the Future' and a demonstration of ingenuity – a place where pressing issues such as climate change, conflict and economic growth can be addressed together.
But its biggest role will still be as a forum for trade.
It represents an unprecedented opportunity for businesses of all sizes, as well as international organisations and government entities from across the world, to come together to foster a more diversified and resilient global economy, inspire a vibrant business environment and drive sustainable growth.
"All major trading countries and powers plan to use Expo to refocus and to redefine their position in the world market," said France's Expo commissioner-general, Erik Linquier recently.
Dubai Expo 2020 will shine a light on the city’s immense appeal as a global commercial hub with the can-do attitude.
“With its rapid regulatory evolution in private banking and wealth management, the centrepiece of Dubai’s success is as that of a wealth hub,” says financial adviser Sandeep Ghosh, writer of the Wealth Lounge blog.
“The allure of the new Emirati citizenship and golden visa options continue to attract a wealthier crowd, already drawn to this tolerant, safe, and convenient tax-haven. In preparation for new money, major institutions are now expanding their private banking and wealth management teams. When put to the test with the pandemic, Dubai showed the world of wealth that their crisis management and business continuity skills were extraordinary, and many of those that took note are more than happy to now shift their wealth into the city. The show is back on.”
The climate looks right for Dubai to move into a highly lucrative new era, believe analysts.
Stuart Porter, a leading Chartered Financial Planner in Dubai says, “The stability of Dubai in the region, the regulatory framework (DIFC) and rapid development of structures attractive to HNWIs have been key.
“Additionally, the attraction of Dubai as a place to work for those with the skill sets needed to provide the services means I am looking forward to seeing what the next five years will bring.”