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Deutsche Bank to be licensed by DIFC




Dubai's plan to develop as a global finance centre received a boost with the announcement by Deutsche Bank of its intention to be licensed by the Dubai International Financial Centre, (DIFC).

Deutsche Bank, which ranks among the global leaders in corporate banking and securities, transaction banking, asset management, and private wealth management, is also one of the region's leading investment banks.

The DIFC will issue licenses in January 2003, but Deutsche Bank will begin increasing its senior staffing in Dubai before the end of this year. The bank is already playing a key role in the growth of Dubai as a global finance centre. At the end of September Deutsche Bank launched the $100 million Estithmaar Ventures Fund in a joint venture with The Investment Office of Dubai. It also acted as bookrunner on the recent Emirates Bank International $230 million bond and the Gulf Investment Corporation $300 million bond. Its regional capabilities in corporate and project finance were recognized by winning the award for Best M&A; House 2002 in the Middle East by Euromoney and advisor to the Best Project of the Year 2002 by MEED.

Following a meeting with Anis Al Jallaf, Chairman DIFC, Pierre de Weck, Chairman of Deutsche Bank's Middle East and North Africa Board, and a Group Executive Committee member, announced Deutsche Bank's intention to be licensed by DIFC and to move to new premises in the Dubai Financial District once these become available.

Commenting on Deutsche Bank's decision to set-up in the DIFC, Mr de Weck said:

"We have no doubt that Dubai is an important base for investment banking in the Middle East. The excellent support facilities proposed for the DIFC will make it an exciting place in which to achieve new wealth creation for our clients. Dubai's track record of delivering what it promises in other areas, such as technology and media, gives us confidence that its ambitious plan for international finance is attractive for financial institutions like Deutsche Bank. We are honoured to be amongst the first institutions to be licensed by DIFC and look forward to being part of the success of Dubai as a centre of financial excellence."

Hussain Al Qemzi, COO DIFC added:

"Deutsche Bank's decision is a vote of confidence in our strategy to create a new world financial centre, based on the foundations of firm transparent regulation combined with a highly competitive tax regime and world-class supportive infrastructure. It's a testament to the financial potential of the region that a leading investment bank like Deutsche Bank has committed to be among DIFC's early landmark institutions."

New Headquarters to Break Ground Soon

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has appointed Gensler & Associates to design the "DIFC Gate" building, which will be the Headquarters for the DIFC and will symbolically serve as the gateway to the new Dubai Financial District.

At the beginning of August 2002 the DIFC revealed that it was undertaking a global design competition to fast track the development of the DIFC Gate building. Seven best-of-breed firms were shortlist and asked to present their vision for the building that will become Dubai's latest landmark.

According to Marwan Al Felasi, Projects Manager for DIFC Real Estate Development, while the competition was fierce, Gensler's design vision delivered a structure that is truly iconic, expressing the core values of the DIFC, while at the same time providing a practical and state - of - the - art working environment.

Mr Al Felasi went on to explain that the winning design is a contemporary interpretation of the "Arc De Triomphe" in Paris. It will rise fifteen floors above a podium that will house retail and parking facilities.

A composition of solid stone and stainless steel will form the main arch, while transparent glazed elements will emphasis the open space created at the centre of the building.

The top of the arch will be expressed by open steel lattice to symbolize transparency, the cornerstone of the DIFC offering.

As well as accommodating the offices of the DIFC, the DIFC Gate will house the Regulatory Authority and Regional Financial Exchange, as well as offering office accommodation for other financial institutions and businesses.

Mr Al Felasi added that construction is expected to begin in December 2002 and is scheduled for completion by early 2004.

Commenting on this appointment, Chris Johnson, Managing Director of Gensler's London office said;

"We are very pleased to be given the opportunity to design this prestigious landmark building, the first in the new Dubai Financial District. This project has given us a fantastic opportunity to create cutting-edge, high quality architecture in a progressive and dynamic city that will lead the way for the new DIFC development."

LICENSING CRITERIA FOR DIFC

The Regulatory Authority of the DIFC issued an Information Paper on its proposed criteria for institutions and individuals wishing to operate in the DIFC. The full details of the Authority's licensing regime will be finalised later in 2002, but the Authority is now able to provide guidance on the main elements of the structure it expects to have in place.

The over-riding aim of the Authority is to have licensing standards that match or exceed those applying in other leading financial centres. Institutions or individuals wishing to operate in the DIFC will need to be able to show that they meet high standards in their business dealings and have the qualifications and competence appropriate to the roles that they seek to perform.

Specific requirements on institutions will include the need to provide the Authority with information on its business plan, the key individuals employed and major shareholders and controllers of the institutions, the operating systems and controls for the institution, the compliance systems and internal audit functions, the anti-money laundering procedures, the financial position of the institution and the regulatory history of the institution, i.e. its regulatory 'track record'.

In addition, individuals being employed by licensed institutions will also need to be registered, if they perform certain specified functions.

Those individuals will include the institution's managing director or branch manager, the individual responsible for compliance oversight, the individual responsible for systems and controls, the money-laundering reporting officer, or any officer undertaking a significant management function in respect of a regulated activity, a settlement function, the solvency aspect (for insurers) or in respect of customer relations.

As with firms, there will be high standards for these individuals relating to their honesty, integrity and reputation, their competence and capability, and their personal financial soundness.

The Regulatory Authority anticipates that institutions will either be established within the DIFC through a subsidiary incorporated in the DIFC, or will operate as a branch of an institution licensed elsewhere.

Where the institution takes the latter route, the DIFC Regulatory Authority will expect to work closely with the institution's "home regulator" to ensure complete regulatory oversight of the institution and that full co-operation between the regulatory bodies occurs.

Commenting on this recent development, Phillip Thorpe, Chief Commissioner for the Regulatory Authority, stated:

"We expect to be able to make application forms for licensing available towards the end of September 2002 and to commence preliminary processing of applications during the last quarter of 2002. The Authority will then be in a position to authorise those institutions and individuals, and issue licenses, from the beginning of 2003.

We are currently seeking comments from institutions and their advisers on the licensing criteria and will expect to issue further updates on licensing, and a related paper on the fee structure for the Regulatory Authority, in due course."



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