There has been a noticeable increase in interest in family wealth management at Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which has over 440 registered foundations and over 600 active entities connected to prominent family businesses and people.

The Centre’s commitment to regulatory transparency and family confidentiality drove an 81% rise in single family offices, accompanied by a 12% increase in holding companies, year on year in 2023.

In order to bolster this expansion further, DIFC published its handbook, “Prosperity Across Generations: Unlocking the Power of DIFC for Families,” which will give families access to information on estate planning, wealth management, succession, and governance in Dubai and the DIFC.

DIFC is a global financial center in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) and is home to over 120 wealthiest families and individuals.

Based on World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2023, Dubai has around 68,500 HNWIs, or individuals with at least $1m in liquid assets, 206 centi-millionaires, or those with a net worth of at least $100m, and 15 billionaires.

With over 5,500 active registered companies, an employee pool of over 41,500, and two decades of steady growth, the DIFC acts as the core financial center between London and Singapore.

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Moreover, in an effort to further develop its booming global family wealth ecosystem and assist family businesses in proving their growth aspirations and succession plans in Dubai and abroad, DIFC established the first Family Wealth Center last year.

“The UAE has long been the primary and preferred destination for business and investment in the GCC and winder MENA region. Similarly, the UAE aims to become the regional centre for family businesses,” said H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Cabinet Member and UAE Minister of Economy said.

His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor, DIFC, added: “Dubai and DIFC have rapidly positioned themselves as the premier destination for family businesses worldwide. The exponential growth and expertise witnessed within the Centre, underscores its pivotal role in shaping the landscape of family wealth.”.

Arif Amiri, chief executive officer of DIFC Authority, concluded: “With a strong pursuit of transparency, regulation, and knowledge-building, DIFC has earned the trust of 230 banks, including 27 of the top 29 globally systemic banks, and more than 350 highly reputable wealth and asset management firms. This momentum is further fuelled by an influx of family businesses and related entities drawn to DIFC’s lifestyle offerings and its world-class DIFC Family Wealth Centre, which is built for innovation, succession planning, and future prosperity.”

DIFC Family Wealth Centre

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has established itself as an innovative and future-oriented jurisdiction by introducing the DIFC Family Arrangements Regulations and forming the DIFC Family Wealth Centre. These initiatives align with the UAE’s vision to empower family businesses and enhance their contributions to the economy.

Launched in 2023, the DIFC Family Wealth Centre serves as a global knowledge hub for family wealth, offering tailored solutions including asset allocation, portfolio management, governance, succession planning, Sharia compliance, Will registration, and philanthropy.

The Centre collaborates with the Innovation Hub to keep next-generation owners updated on technological advancements.

Recently, the DIFC Family Wealth Centre and STEP Arabia signed an MOU to guide family businesses towards multi-generational success and enhance adviser knowledge. Additionally, it contributes to the local economy, as family businesses account for a significant portion of the UAE’s GDP, workforce, and private companies.