Over 120 Wealthiest Families Call DIFC Home: 206 Centi-Millionaires & 15 Billionaires Reside in Dubai’s Financial Hub

Over 120 Wealthiest Families Call DIFC Home: 206 Centi-Millionaires & 15 Billionaires Reside in Dubai's Financial Hub

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) serves as a global hub for many of the world’s wealthiest families and individuals. This international center is nestled among the top 22 wealthiest cities worldwide and is home to over 120 affluent families and individuals, with a combined net worth surpassing $1 trillion.

The 2023 World’s Wealthiest Cities Report reveals that Dubai houses over 68,500 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) with at least $1 million in liquid assets, 206 centi-millionaires with a net worth of at least $100 million, and 15 billionaires within its population.

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Dubai Family Businesses Thrive in DIFC

With a workforce of over 41,500 and more than 5,500 registered companies, DIFC stands as the deepest financial center between London and Singapore. The center’s consistent 20-year growth culminated in a record-breaking 2023, further solidifying its position as a magnet for wealth in Dubai.

To assist family businesses with their growth and succession planning in Dubai and beyond, DIFC established the world’s first Family Wealth Center last year. The center recently hosted its first anniversary luncheon, celebrating its achievements and the impact it has had in just one year. Esteemed guests included Essa Kazim, DIFC Governor, Arif Amiri, DIFC Authority CEO, and Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri.

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Prominent Figures Highlight DIFC’s Success

Minister Al Marri stated, “The UAE is the preferred destination for business and investment in the GCC and MENA regions. The UAE aims to establish itself as the regional hub for family businesses. Dubai offers unmatched opportunities and resources for family wealth growth and preservation.”

Kazim emphasized DIFC’s rapid rise to becoming a premier destination for family businesses worldwide. He credited the center’s success to its nurturing of enduring legacies and empowerment of families for generations.

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Amiri highlighted DIFC’s role as a global family wealth hub due to its commitment to fostering a growth ecosystem for the broader financial sector. This includes transparency, regulation, and knowledge-building. DIFC’s offerings have attracted 230 banks, including 27 of the top 29 globally systemic banks, and more than 350 reputable wealth and asset management firms.

Growth in Family Wealth Management

DIFC has seen increased interest in family wealth management, with over 440 registered foundations and more than 600 active entities connected to prominent family companies and individuals. In 2023, the center reported an 81% increase in single-family offices and a 12% increase in holding companies. This growth aligns with the center’s commitment to regulatory transparency and family confidentiality.

To support this expansion, DIFC has launched “Prosperity Across Generations: Unlocking the Power of DIFC for Families.” This guide provides families with information on estate planning, wealth management, succession, and governance in Dubai and DIFC.

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Regulatory Advancements and New Opportunities

In 2023, DIFC replaced the Single Family Office (SFO) Regulations with the DIFC Family Arrangements Regulations. This shift aligns with the UAE’s aim to help family businesses maximize their economic contributions. The new regulations offer families a private registry option for enhanced privacy and confidentiality.

Family businesses in DIFC benefit from certification under the UAE Family Business Law, which provides benefits and incentives.

The establishment of DIFC Family Wealth Center in 2023 offers families customized solutions for governance, succession planning, asset allocation, philanthropy, and Sharia compliance. Additionally, the center’s collaboration with the Innovation Hub helps future generations stay at the forefront of technological advancements.

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Family businesses in DIFC enjoy an internationally recognized legal system based on English common law and access to a variety of structures and regimes. The center’s cosmopolitan community provides networking opportunities, educational programs, and experiential events.

Partnerships and Economic Contributions

DIFC Family Wealth Centre recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with STEP Arabia to support family businesses’ pursuit of multigenerational success and enhance advisors’ capabilities.

Family businesses account for 60% of the UAE’s GDP, 80% of its workforce, and 90% of its private companies. As a social mechanism for wealth distribution, the DIFC Family Wealth Centre plays a pivotal role in supporting the local economy.

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