Further work is needed to enhance the maturity of Dubai’s financial markets and financial infrastructure as the emirate continued to record exceptional progress  in its drive to become the financial hub for Middle East and Whole of Africa, Cass Business School, part of City University London, said on Tuesday.
“Dubai is becoming increasingly important as a financial and trading entrepot for the Middle East and Whole of Africa (Mewa), with its strong 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,” Professor of Finance, Steve Thomas, said in a report released at Sibos.
The report, which identified the strength of Dubai as an international financial centre and the challenges it faced, came as DIFC’s continued to strengthen its position as the international financial centre of choice in the region by recording a seven per cent growth in the number of active registered companies to 979 during the first half of 2013.
The DIFC’s unique infrastructure, internationally recognised legislative and regulatory framework, and dynamic business environment have positioned the centre to become a financial ecosystem. As of June 30, 2013, as many as 979 active registered companies had a presence in DIFC compared to 912 companies in the previous year, with 365 regulated, 481 non-regulated companies, and 133 retailers.
While Dubai’s world class infrastructure  has already attracted a diverse set of financial services companies, the emirate has to further enhance the maturity of its equity and debt markets and its financial infrastructure, Cass said.
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 Infrastructures is an important step to ensure that Dubai’s financial infrastructure adheres to industry best practices.
“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,” said Alain Raes, chief executive, EMEA and APAC, Swift.
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, said Sido Bestani, head of Middle East and North Africa, Swift.
“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.”
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 September 19, there will be a dedicated Africa and Middle East Day, including a session looking at the role of financial centres. This will feature several panellists including Jeff Singer, chief executive, DIFC.
Ehsan Razavizadeh, regional director, Mena and head of the Cass Dubai Centre, said the report is a great example of the power of collaboration between a world-class academic institution and an international organisation such as Swift.