A handful of investment funds are close to being launched in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) as an overhaul of the regulatory regime spurs renewed interest in the free zone's asset management industry.
Financial regulator Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) made changes to rules controlling funds established in the DIFC in July to make it more flexible and business friendly.
Since then, four or five funds were in the pipeline and could be launched within weeks, Kevin Birkett (CK), head of wealth management and capital markets at the DIFC Authority, said on the sidelines of a DIFC seminar about the new regulations.
"These have been waiting on the sidelines and are a sign of the first wave of interest in the new funds regime," said Mr Birkett "Since Ramadan the whole industry has picked up and we've had a lot of inquiries from firms about launching funds. European and US markets are hurting badly and a lot of firms are looking at other places internationally."
DFSA decided to change the rules as it steps up its efforts to establish DIFC as a centre for fund management within the region.
The first regulatory framework, established in 2006, led to only limited success at achieving this goal, with five funds set-up, less than officials had hoped.