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The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Chairman, Mr Saeb Eigner, delivered an address on the opening morning of the tenth annual Asian Financial Forum (AFF) in Hong Kong, emphasising Dubai’s role as a financial hub for the region. The forum was attended by 2,800 participants from Asia, Europe and the US, including finance ministers, heads of government, central bankers and business leaders from 50 countries, to discuss global economic developments and business trends.
Mr Saeb Eigner said:
The shift towards Asia of the world’s economic centre of gravity is making itself felt strongly in the Middle East. Chinese, Japanese and Indian banks now occupy the top slots in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in terms of assets. Trade between China, the Middle East and much of Africa is now being financed through Dubai.
Mr Saeb Eigner added that the financial markets across Asia are also becoming more integrated.
The increasing role of the Chinese renminbi (RMB) in settling trade transactions contributes to this process. The role of the UAE as a RMB clearing centre is growing,” he said.
Mr Eigner commented on the factors that make an international financial centre successful, including quality of life, transport links, efficient communications, the rule of law, a respected judiciary, a low tax environment, and an efficient and trusted regulatory system.
These are all well-established characteristics of Hong Kong. I believe we can fairly say that, in the 12 years since the DIFC was established, we have created a similar eco-system in our part of the world,” said Mr Eigner.
In his comments, Mr Eigner also addressed the growing role of Financial Technology (FinTech) in the post-crisis world, and the balance regulators have to strike between protecting financial stability and allowing market innovation and development.
We at the DFSA are working hard to get this balance right, while playing our part in implementing the recently-announced FinTech strategy of Dubai and DIFC. The DIFC is very much “open for business” in this space.
The AFF was jointly organised by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, bringing together some of the most influential members of the global financial and business community under the theme of “Asia: Driving Change, Innovation and Connectivity”.