Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, today announced it is the first financial centre in the Region to enter into an agreement with the Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA), the alternative investment industry’s pre-eminent voice globally, representing over 2,100 corporate members with over USD2.5 trn hedge fund and/or private credit assets. The agreement further solidifies AIMA’s long-standing commitment to the region and DIFC’s ever-growing role as an international hub for alternative investments and hedge funds.
Reaffirming Dubai’s position as a preferred destination for alternative investments and global hedge funds, Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “DIFC is delighted to be the first financial centre in the Region to partner with AIMA. Innovation and cross-border collaboration attracts capital flows and opportunities in growth markets for high-performing hedge funds with a range of investment strategies. This agreement marks yet another pivotal moment for Dubai and DIFC as we continue to attract world-class talent, whilst driving the future of finance by providing a robust and hyper-connected ecosystem for the alternative investment industry that enables them to manage their global portfolios efficiently.”
Jack Inglis, CEO, AIMA, commented: “The past year has seen many reports of alternative investment managers, including some of the industry’s largest names, opening offices in the United Arab Emirates. AIMA has enjoyed member representation in the region for over 15 years and has closely watched its growth as an important global financial hub, not just for alternative investments but also the wider asset management industry. In signing this MOU, we are pleased to partner with a recognised industry leader in the DIFC to further assist our members in Dubai and support the maturation of the alternative asset management sector in this vibrant location.”
The news comes as DIFC continues to witness an unparalleled inflow of alternative investment firms and hedge funds. Hedge funds establishing their regional presence in DIFC during the second quarter this year include: Hudson Bay Capital, a multi-billion-dollar hedge fund operating in Greenwich, New York, Miami and London; Asia Research and Capital Management Ltd., the privately owned asset management firm founded in 2011 headquartered in Hong Kong; King Street Capital, a leading global alternative asset manager founded in 1995 with over USD23 bn across an institutional platform spanning multiple segments of the public and private markets; Balyasny Asset Management, founded in 2001 with over 1,000 investment professionals across all major financial centres; and Verition Fund Management LLC, the multi-strategy, multi-manager hedge fund founded in 2008 focusing on global investment strategies. The firms will relocate senior employees to DIFC to conduct portfolio management and investor relations activities.
Demonstrating broader growth across alternative investment classes, new private equity firms establishing offices in DIFC include TPG Global, Rockpoint and CVC Capital Partners.
DIFC offers a broad network of partners for portfolio managers setting up in Dubai. As the number and scope of hedge funds established in DIFC grows, the Centre envisions a further deepening of the ecosystem, including hedge funds with a range of investment strategies, additional prime brokers, and technology start-ups.
This augmentation of the ecosystem creates a flywheel for traders, portfolio managers and support teams, further strengthening Dubai as a global hub for hedge funds. DIFC continues its discussions with global hedge funds that are looking to establish offices within the Centre, where they benefit from a large and growing bank of support services, including prime brokers, law firms, consultancies, and tax specialists.
A recent report by Refinitiv, an LSEG business, ‘Dubai: The next global hedge fund centre. Opportunities and Outlook’, has affirmed growing interest in the Middle East for private equity and venture capital firms, in comparison to more established markets. Investors are optimistic about the region, looking to maintain or increase exposure to private equity and venture capital. Read the full report here.
The UAE is also an increasingly popular destination for high-net-worth investors and is reported to have seen the greatest net inflow of millionaires in 2022. Private wealth in the country is estimated to total USD966 bn.