Dubai a safe haven for high-net worth GCC families investments


As a first-class tourism destination, and a world-leading financial services center, Dubai is seen as a safe haven for individuals from the rest of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and other Middle Eastern countries, and as an alternative jurisdiction for wealthy high-net worth families and their investments from around the world, according to Deloitte’s latest report “Introducing Dubai: A destination for private and corporate wealth”.

According to the Deloitte report, the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) was an early proponent of the concept of the Single Family Office (SFO), and the first jurisdiction in the Middle East to define a family office in legal terms. Legislation relating to SFOs which recognizes the unique requirements of family offices and their limited public liability has been in place since 2008. Based in the DIFC means family offices can benefit from the robust legal and regulatory framework, and highly qualified and experienced professionals.

“The DIFC rule of law has a common law framework; it also has its own courts as well as a Wills & Probate Registry for non-Muslims. The DIFC has strict anti-money laundering rules to ensure that it is a real contender on the international financial scene,” said Walid Chiniara, Partner and Deloitte Private Leader in the Middle East.  “Efforts are being made in government to amend and update some of the other commercial and private legislation in the rest of the country, so as to attract more foreign investment into the UAE, which it is hoped will increase exponentially in the run-up to Dubai’s hosting of Expo in 2020,” he added.

Highlights of the Deloitte report include:

  • Dubai has several free zones and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) which allow 100% foreign ownership, making them of interest to internationally mobile families and their businesses.
  • With oil prices impacting the regional economy, a successful and entrepreneurial cohort of ‘next generation’ family business owners will be instrumental in the continued advancement of the Dubai economy

“As host city of Expo 2020, Dubai anticipates it will attract 25 million visitors, the vast majority of whom will, unusually for this sort of event, be from overseas,” said Chiniara. “This multicultural ‘mega-event’, which will be held under the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, is hoped to showcase Dubai as a springboard facilitating investment in Africa as well as Asia,” he concluded.


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