May 31st, 2023

Key Developments in the Financial Services Industry in UAE 2023

The financial services industry is constantly evolving, seeking innovative solutions to cater to the changing needs of the market. 2023 appears to be a year of dynamic shifts and immense possibilities in this sector, particularly in the Middle East and Africa South Asia (MEASA) region. From the surging demand for hedge funds to the boom in Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), there is a multitude of key trends to watch out for. Let us look into the insightful exploration of these developments, emphasizing their impact on the industry and the future it promises.

Increasing Demand for Hedge Funds in Dubai

With a 3.6% predicted growth for the MEASA region in 2023 by the World Economic Forum, the financial services industry is expected to flourish. A cornerstone in this development is the burgeoning demand for hedge funds, particularly in Dubai. Thanks to the top-tier legal and regulatory platforms offered by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the region is witnessing an influx of hedge funds majorly driven by the UK and the US.

In 2023, DIFC’s forward-thinking legal and regulatory framework and quick, flexible set-up options are set to attract portfolio managers eager to grow their teams and take advantage of the Centre’s growth ecosystem. This shift will lead to increased domestic and regional investments from new and existing hedge funds, further increasing their economic value.

The Middle East IPO Boom

Another trend to follow is the growing IPO market in the Middle East. Despite a global slump in IPOs due to economic woes such as falling stock prices and high inflation, the Middle East is witnessing an IPO boom. Recent figures from Bloomberg show that Gulf IPOs attracted over $18 billion this year, representing 47 per cent of the wider Middle East’s $38.2 billion. DIFC’s rich ecosystem is expected to further bolster this trend in 2023, facilitating grassroots-level development in the IPO market.

Strengthening of Family Businesses

Family-owned businesses form the backbone of the Middle East’s economy, contributing 60% of the GDP and employing 80% of the workforce. These businesses are experiencing the Great Wealth Transfer – the largest generational wealth transfer in modern history. With an estimated $5.5 trillion in wealth expected to be transferred across generations within the UK over the next 30 years, businesses must navigate these complex wealth and wealth transfer processes.

In response, DIFC has introduced the DIFC Family Wealth Centre, a unique offering designed to provide tailored services to family businesses. This Centre leverages DIFC’s nearly 20 years of experience in supporting these businesses, offering the necessary tools and advice to help them grow.

Emergence of Dubai as a Global Fintech Capital

Dubai is also emerging as a global fintech capital. The first nine months of 2022 saw more fintech and innovation firms joining DIFC than the whole of 2021. The DIFC FinTech Hive, the region’s first and largest fintech accelerator program, has attracted over 3,000 applications worldwide, with 200 companies accelerated based on their revenue-generating ideas.

Accelerating Climate Finance in the UAE

Lastly, innovative thinking and prioritizing the planet are core values for the financial services sector in 2023. Dubai, through its position as a global fintech capital, is ideally placed to facilitate the transition to a green economy, further solidifying the UAE’s role as a financial hub.

Contribution of Mark Williams

Mark Williams has long been a valuable player in the financial services industry’s development in the MENA region. As a leading recruitment firm specialising in the financial services sector, we have been an active catalyst in these transformations, sourcing top-tier talent to steer these innovations and contribute to the industry’s overall growth.

Recently, we have published a comprehensive Financial Services Market Report and Salary Guide that provides in-depth insights into the sector’s current state and future trends. These insights have been instrumental in facilitating informed decision-making for both employers and job seekers within the financial services sector.

Five key insights from the report are:

  • 62% of the surveyed candidates received a salary increase in 2022.
  • 14% of respondents received an increase of 15% or more.
  • 65% of people are still looking to change jobs within the next year.
  • 57% of surveyed candidates expecting hybrid or remote work models in their current or new positions since the pandemic ended.
  • 62% of leaders are now focused on increasing the hiring of not only more females in the workplace, and 59% of leaders are focused on increasing the hiring of Arabic speakers.

Our services continually evolve to stay in sync with the changing landscape, and we’re excited to be a part of this transformative journey. At Mark Williams, we are not just contributing to the present but also shaping the future of the financial services industry, one successful placement at a time. To learn more about our contributions and services or to get a detailed view of our Financial Services Market Report and Salary Guide, click here

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