The UAE with world’s attention on its rapid development and astonishing projects, now have the privilege to become a destination for international bankers after last year’s Brexit vote.
The suggestion by Miles Celic, the chief executive of financial lobbying group TheCityUK, that the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) may prove attractive destinations for London’s bankers. This can, in turn, led to unexpected reaction in financial centres such as Frankfurt, Dublin and Paris, all of which are eager to attract London-based financiers. Despite the hope, Dubai and Abu-Dhabi have much to recommend them as an alternative base for British bankers. The UAE is a hub for Europe with flights to Frankfurt taking just over six hours and for Asia with India and China connections making the UAE as an attractive location for global firms seeking 24-hour global coverage.
Moreover, the common law systems of both the DIFC and ADGM, together with the prevalence of the English language, would provide some familiar comfort for Britain’s bankers, together with the centres’ ambitions in the growing areas including fintech and Islamic Finance.
As Mr Celic mentions, the UAE’s benefit from Brexit is likely to be piecemeal, with other London bankers likely to be reassigned back to the US or further east to Asia.
In spite of impressive strides in recent years, both the DIFC and ADGM as financial centres remain small in comparison with the likes of New York, Singapore and Hong Kong.
But the UAE’s attractions for international financiers should not be underestimated by its challengers. If ADGM and DIFC can attract even a tiny slice of London’s financial services sector post-Brexit, it would be yet additional success for the UAE on global scale.