Dubai regulator DFSA posts 25% increase in licencing in 2023
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Dubai regulator DFSA posts 25% increase in licencing in 2023

Dubai regulator DFSA posts 25% increase in licencing in 2023

The financial regulator registered a 50 per cent year-on-year increase in licence applications across all business models

Kudakwashe Muzoriwa
DFSA says company licencing rose by 35% in 2023

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) said new company licencing rose by 25 per cent in 2023, bringing the total number of registered firms to 791, driven by its regulatory framework and the attractiveness of the city for financial services companies.

The financial regulator registered a 50 per cent year-on-year surge in licence applications across all business models, underscoring the robust growth and diversity of the financial services sector within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

“Looking ahead to 2024, the 20th anniversary of the DIFC, we remain committed to supporting the vision of UAE and Dubai, fostering development, and collaboration within the DIFC community,” Fadel Al Ali, chairman of the DFSA said, adding that the regulator counties deliver regulation that upholds the integrity of Dubai’s financial hub.

The wealth management sector experienced significant growth, with increases in licencing applications from private banks, asset managers, and fund management firms. More than 40 domestic fund registration applications were received in 2023.

The financial regulator also witnessed a robust growth in sustainability-linked securities listings to a record $11.72bn in total value, bringing the total outstanding ESG securities to $27bn as of year-end.

Since its establishment, Dubai’s DFSA signed a total of 115 bilateral MoUs, five multilateral MoUs, and eight innovation agreements, further solidifying its international partnerships and commitment to regulatory cooperation.

DFSA continues to embrace innovative technologies to safeguard and advance the cybersecurity landscape within the DIFC. The regulator’s Threat Intelligence Platform has issued more than six million compromise indicators to users since its launch in 2020.

DFSA drives sustainable finance

Meanwhile, Dubai’s financial regulator said last December that it will waive all regulatory fees for issuers wishing to list sustainability-related debt securities in the DIFC throughout 2024.

The waiver, which was announced at COP28, underscores the regulator’s long-standing commitment to accelerating the growth of sustainable capital markets in the DIFC since the publication of its first set of guidelines for listing green bonds and sukuk in 2018.

The waiver applies to all new and repeat issuers who make a relevant application to the DFSA.

Nasdaq Dubai, the DIFC’s exchange, has emerged as the world’s largest ESG sukuk market with more than 60 per cent of US-denominated ESG sukuk and close to 50 per cent of all-currencies ESG sukuk.

To further mobilise and bolster the sources of financing for sustainable projects in the UAE and the wider region, the fee waiver applies to all ESG-related bonds and sukuk labelled as green, social, sustainable, sustainability-linked, climate, climate adaptation, climate transition, or similar.

Read: DIFC underwriting volumes hit record $2.6bn in 2023

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