Philippe Amarante is a Managing Partner at Henley & Partners and the Head of the firm’s Dubai office.
As the large influx of high-net-worth individuals migrating to the Middle East — and particularly the UAE — gains momentum, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial center in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region, has announced the launch of the world’s first Global Family Business and Private Wealth Centre. This remarkable move further enhances the UAE’s already attractive offering for ultra-high-net-worth individuals and private wealth, as it provides a powerful hub for global family-owned businesses and their advisors to access excellent services and robust regulation for efficient legacy and estate planning.
With the DIFC the region’s largest financial ecosystem, it can be expected that the UAE’s competitiveness will continue to increase, and the country will attract a range of players from the private wealth industry.
The UAE has also recently implemented new regulations to provide additional immigration options for digital nomads, start-ups, inventors, and retirees, among others, and further benefits for family members who reside in the country. All are tailored to attract investors, entrepreneurs, and highly skilled workers who in turn benefit from living in the UAE, which offers excellent opportunities.
It is this efficient and nimble approach by policy makers that consistently puts the UAE ahead of the curve in the global competition for wealth, talent, ideas, and projects. The ‘Expat Insider 2022’ report by InterNations revealed that 79% of those surveyed said living in the UAE advanced their professional prospects, compared to the global average of 65%.
Data suggests that 90% of the high-net-worth individual population in the Middle East aims to keep their assets in the region, however, geographical expansion as a means to diversify their residence portfolios is of strategic consideration.
Other Middle East countries such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also continue to increase their efforts to create meaningful opportunities for private wealth and the sector. The recent spectacular announcement of the Line, a megacity to house 9 million people that forms a key part of Neom, a renewable energy-powered region being developed across Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt, is one example that showcases the determination to attract financial, human, and technological capital.