The Board of Directors of the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA) recently announced changes to its structure and its senior management team responsible for the implementation of DIFC’s growth strategy. DIFCA’s medium-term goal is to build on the Centre’s successful performance to date and double its scale as a global financial hub. The Board has therefore decided to segregate its two core functions into two independent entities: The business development and legislation arm, to remain named DIFC Authority, responsible for developing DIFC’s international relations with the world’s other leading financial centres and further strengthen the Centre position globally; and DIFC Properties to manage the Centre’s real estate portfolio and responsible for delivering DIFC’s Master Plan. The reorganisation is effective immediately.
Jeff Singer is appointed CEO of DIFC Authority and Nabil Ramadhan is appointed Acting CEO of DIFC Properties. They report to the Board of Directors of DIFC Authority. Together they will implement DIFCA’s growth strategy to raise the number of DIFC’s membership which currently stands at 860 active companies, increase the number of people working at DIFC to an estimated 25,000 people, complete the remaining development of the 110 acre site, ensure the Centre continues to be supported by efficient and reliable infrastructure, and continue to enhance DIFC’s international reputation as a global financial hub.
As such, Abdulla Al Awar has been appointed as an advisor to the Board of Directors.
In making the announcement, H. E. Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Board of Directors of DIFC Authority, commented: “For the last three years, Abdulla has worked diligently to ensure that DIFC continues to grow despite the global economic backdrop. As an advisor to the board of DIFC Authority, we will be able to leverage his valuable experience at the Centre.
“Going forward, our goal is ambitious but achievable. We plan to double DIFC’s scale in terms of the number of member companies and their employees. We also plan to develop the Centre’s function and reputation as host to international capital markets. To achieve this, we have decided to change the structure of the senior management team. Jeff is already well-known and respected by the DIFC community. He brings extensive experience in business development and dealing with international markets from his time with NASDAQ OMX and more recently as CEO of NASDAQ Dubaiduring the past four years. Nabil is a very capable senior manager who has contributed significantly to DIFC’s growth to date and will enable DIFC to deliver the real estate infrastructure needed to support future growth. I look forward to working with both gentlemen and to developing DIFC’s reputation as one of the leading financial centres in the world.”
Jeff Singer said: “In a very short time, DIFC has attracted a significant membership base comprising many of the world’s top financial institutions, insurance companies and advisory firms. The Centre has significant future growth potential as emerging markets continue to develop and open up, notably in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, and also as mature markets eventually regain their appetite for regional investment. DIFC commands a strong position and I look forward to raising awareness of the many opportunities DIFC offers to new and existing members and to developing the business transacted from the Centre.”
Nabil Ramadhan said:”Our challenge is to balance the needs of our current and new member companies with the supply of the high-quality real estate and supporting infrastructure they need to grow successfully. We have created a very dynamic working environment at DIFC. We will ensure that the Centre continues to evolve and that the contribution we make to the UAE economy continues to grow as a result.”
Since its launch in 2005, DIFC has successfully become the leading international financial centre in the region. In 2011, Dubai was ranked as one of the top 10 international financial centres (8th) by The Banker (FT Business) out of 53 international Financial Centres, based on the level of international business and the value offered to international institutions seeking to expand their international operations. The Banker (FT Business) ranked Dubai ahead of centres like Zurich, Tokyo, Geneva, Luxembourg, Dublin and Chicago, and named it as the 3rd best location in the world for inward FDI in financial services.DIFC has also become an important element of the UAE economy contributing in 2011 around USD 1.3 billion, equivalent to 1.4% of the nation’s non-hydrocarbon GDP as estimated by International Monetary Fund.
DIFC Authority will oversee the strategic development, operational management and administration of Dubai International Financial Centre. DIFC Properties will oversee the property development of the DIFC free zone, of which roughly 40% remains to be constructed, and its supporting infrastructure.
Before joining SME Advisor, I worked as a producer/reporter for Forbes Media in New York. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and International Studies at the University of South Florida in the US. I am currently in Dubai working as Sub-Editor for SME Advisor Middle East, which is a business magazine published by CPI. You can follow me on Twitter: @joumanasaad or @SMEadvisorME and (Joumana Saad) or (SME Advisor) on LinkedIn.