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Top DIFC-Based Indian Firms Leverage UAE-Indian Axis to Bolster GCC Presence 2017-01-10 12:48:01

Top DIFC-Based Indian Firms Leverage UAE-Indian Axis to Bolster GCC Presence

APCO Worldwide
Elizabeth Sen, +971-55-954-8673
Deputy Managing Director

Four major Indian finance firms are strengthening their operations at DIFC, highlighting the Dubai financial free zone’s position as a natural platform for investment from the subcontinent.

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Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Gate (Photo: ME NewsWire)

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Gate (Photo: ME NewsWire)

Kotak Mahindra Bank and Federal Bank are upgrading their representative office status to Category 1 License, giving them a full range of banking and professional services out of DIFC.

HDFC Life and Axis Bank, the third largest of the private-sector banks in India, are also strengthening their operations.

The move is further testimony to DIFC’s status as a global financial services hub, connecting Indian business to an US$7.8 trillion Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

DIFC is home to many of India’s leading banks and financial institutions. The financial hub, already home to 1,500 firms and 21,000+ professionals, is already viewed as a ready-made ecosystem of expertise and services. Arif Amiri, CEO at DIFC Authority, explains: “DIFC continues to be the natural platform for Indian banks and financial services firms looking to grow their international presence from an internationally regulated, English common law base and unparalleled connectivity into the fast growing but underserved MENA region.

“Through investment, credit lines and liquidity support for the privatization, economic diversification and infrastructure developments in the region and also as a gateway for foreign direct investment back into the fast reforming Indian economy itself, there are enormous opportunities for Indian banks here in DIFC.”

India is the UAE's second largest trading partner. According to Government of India figures, bilateral trade crossed the US$59 billion mark in FY 2014-15.

Over 2.5 million Indians reside in the UAE - by far the largest expatriate group in the country - with over 40,000 Indian-owned firms thriving on UAE soil.

DIFC is on track to achieve its target of hosting 100 Indian firms by 2024. It is currently home to many of India’s leading banks and financial institutions, including Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India, State Bank of India, Canara Bank, Aditya Birla Sun Life Asset Management, IL&FS Global Financial Services, IIFL Private Wealth Management and Kotak Mahindra Financial Services.

Federal Bank’s enhanced operations in Dubai will help serve a fast-growing overseas client base estimated at over 800,000 while Kotak Mahindra Bank’s presence is expected to help raise off-shore deposits and offer asset products.

Axis Bank sees significant elements of their business coming from the DIFC client base, while leading private sector life insurance firm HDFC Life became the first Indian reinsurer to set up operations within the financial district in 2016.

*Source: ME NewsWire

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Hossam Abdel-Kader
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