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Cass report identifies challenges and opportunities for Dubai as an International Financial Centre

SWIFT-sponsored research identifies opportunity for Dubai to become the financial hub for Middle East and Whole of Africa. However, further work is needed to improve maturity of financial markets and financial infrastructure.

Dubai, 17 September 2013 – Dubai, 17 September 2013 – CassBusinessSchool, part of City University London, today published a report entitled Dubai as an International Financial Centre: Threats and Opportunities. The report, sponsored by SWIFT and published at Sibos, aims to contribute to the body of knowledge on Dubai as an IFC and to lay out a road map for what steps need to be taken in order for Dubai to continue developing towards this goal. SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a member-owned cooperative that provides financial messaging for more than 10,000 banks, securities institutions and corporate customers in 212 countries and territories.

Professor of Finance, Steve Thomas said: “Dubai is becoming increasingly important as a financial and trading entrepôt 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.”

The report outlines the advantages of Dubai’s world class infrastructure, which has already attracted a diverse set of financial services companies. However, it also identifies areas where further work is needed, such as to improve the maturity of its equity and debt markets and its financial infrastructure.

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.

Alain Raes, Chief Executive, EMEA & APAC, SWIFT, said: “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.”

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 19 September, there will be a dedicated Africa & Middle East Day, including a session looking at the role of financial centres. This will feature several panellists including Jeff Singer, CEO, DIFC.

Sido Bestani, Head of Middle East & North Africa, SWIFT, said: “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. 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.”

Ehsan Razavizadeh, Regional Director, MENA and Head of the Cass Dubai Centre said: “This report is a great example of the power of collaboration between a world class academic institution and an international organisation such as SWIFT. CassBusinessSchool has long been a leader in finance and banking education and we are delighted to have had this opportunity to work with colleagues in SWIFT. As Dubai counts down to a decision on its Expo 2020 bid, this report serves to highlight the emirate’s standing as a dynamic and thriving global financial centre.”

The full report can be downloaded at:

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