Stock - DIFC
DIFC has set a target of doubling in size and its contribution to Dubai GDP by 2030. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Dubai and DIFC have topped the global rankings for 2021 in pulling foreign direct investment when it comes to the financial services sector. Dubai attracted 58 FDI projects in the financial services sector, totalling Dh926.2 million and which generated around 1,432 jobs in 2021.

DIFC has been ranked first during the five-year period from 2017 to 2021, reaffirming its ‘Strategy 2030’ objectives to support sustained economic growth and ‘differentiate Dubai as a global hub for financial institutions’. (The ranking is based on the ‘fDi Markets’ data of Financial Times, which is among the most comprehensive database of cross-border greenfield investments available.)

The strategy aims at doubling DIFC in size and its economic contribution to Dubai’s GDP.

Between 2017-21, Dubai attracted 184 FDI projects worth Dh5.2 billion and which led to around 5,727 new jobs. By the end of last year, Dubai ranked first globally in the financial services sector in attracting FDI projects, third in job creation, and fifth in FDI capital generated.

New entrants

The FDI projects that came in include SRI Group Global, a financial and business advisory firm; Teamup Ventures, an incubation and acceleration platform; Lebanon’s FFA Private Bank; and Pretium, an alt-investment firm. Another substantial investment was by Union Capital, a broker-dealer and member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Merger and acquisition projects included ONE Swiss Bank, a Swiss private bank; and Brakket Invest, a privately held holding company.

Arif Amiri

“The Centre’s (DIFC) commitment to further differentiate itself as the region’s leading global financial centre - positioned alongside other global cities, such as London, New York, Paris and Singapore - reflects our commitment to continuously evolve our existing world-class business-enabling ecosystem, legal and regulatory framework, and innovation proposition to attract companies from around the world,”

- Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority

The Dubai FDI Monitor data shows the UK remaining in pole position as the top source country for the inflows, followed by the US, Switzerland, India and Cyprus. The UK also maintained its position as the leading source country based on FDI capital, and with the US, India, Switzerland and Lebanon taking up the other top positions.

"Despite the challenges the world has faced – the pandemic and economic changes – Dubai has provided a strong and sustainable investment environment," said Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI. "