Number of newly licensed firms in Dubai rises by 25%

Dubai’s Financial Services Authority (DFSA) issued a record number of licences in 2023 for financial services firms looking to set up base in the emirate.

In total, the regulator issued 117 new licences, a 25% increase on the previous year. The increase was especially large for the asset management sector with the number of new hedge funds setting up in Dubai rising by 125% on the previous year.

Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been actively attempting to recruit international; hedge funds to the region in the last 12 months.

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The other area of growth for Dubai has been the ESG sukuk market. According to the DFSA, Nasdaq Dubai has the largest ESG sukuk market in the world by market capitalisation (US$27 billion) and accounts for 60% of USD-denominated ESG sukuk.

The DFSA also referred to its efforts to build relationships with other regulatory bodies domestically and internationally.

For example, it has worked with the UAE’s Financial Intelligence Agency to help enforce antimoney laundering and counter-terrorist financing rules, and also signed an MoU with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority to support climate finance regulation in the Mena region.

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