Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), saw a record 20% rise the number of active registered companies, from 3,644 in 2021 to 4,377 in 2022. 

In a statement on 20 February, the DIFC said new companies registered in 2022 surpassed the annual milestone of 1,000 for the first time in its history with a total of 1,084 new firms.

In 2022, DIFC's combined revenue exceeded AED1bn for the first time. The Centre recorded a revenue increase of 18% year on year to reach AED1.06bn from AED 897m in 2021. 

Operating profit for 2022 increased 19% to AED679m from AED573m in 2021. Total assets crossed AED15.3bn, reflecting DIFC's strong financial position.

Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE; and President of the Dubai International Financial Centre, said: "DIFC's exceptional performance in 2022 demonstrates Dubai's growing role as a major driver of innovation, entrepreneurship and next-generation technologies in the region's financial sector. 

"The Centre's performance, which has been guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into one of the world's biggest global financial hubs, reflects its ability to keep pace with global economic shifts and the rapid evolution of the world's financial landscape, and provide a platform for financial companies to tap new opportunities. 

"DIFC's growth significantly contributes to the goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to transform Dubai into one of the world's top three cities for business."

He added: "The Dubai International Financial Centre's 2022 results also reflect the growing demand for a supportive ecosystem from global businesses looking to scale into emerging economies with high-growth financial services markets. With financial technology becoming a vital growth catalyst across sectors, the UAE's ambitious initiatives to drive the future of finance will create immense opportunities and new economic growth not only in our region but also across the globe," 

In 2022, the Centre also recorded its best performance in additional net commercial space leased with 809,000 sq. ft. leased in 2022, compared to 349,000 sq. ft. in 2021.

Total banking assets booked in DIFC were stable at $199bn.  An additional $166bn of lending was also arranged by DIFC firms, up 54%. As a global hub for emerging market Wealth and Asset Management, DIFC portfolio managers invested $164bn in 2022 compared to $151bn in 2021. 

Venture Capital raised increased to $1.2bn, up by 78%. Gross Written Premiums for the insurance sector reached $2.1bn, rising from $1.8bn in 2021.

DIFC is home to 17 of the world's top 20 banks, 25 of the world's top 30 systemically important global banks, five of the top 10 insurance companies, five of the top 10 asset managers and many leading global legal and consulting firms. 

DIFC-based FinTech and Innovation companies attracted over $615 million in 2022. FinTech and Innovation became the fastest growing sector in DIFC with 291 new clients. A total of 686 Fintech and Innovation firms, ranging from start-ups to global unicorns, are now based in DIFC.

A total of 1,369 financial and innovation related entities are now active and operating within DIFC, up 22% from 2021, while 291 new FinTech and innovation firms joined in 2022 taking the total to 686, an increase of 36%.

The number of Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)-regulated financial entities grew to 590 with 89 regulated financial service firms authorised in 2022, up from 51 in 2021.

Notable firms joining DIFC in 2022 included ADIB, BIC-BRED, Continental Group International, FinTech unicorn Darwinbox, Jefferies, Habib Bank AG Zurich, Lord Abbett, 1291, Prevensure, Proton, Sculptor Capital Management Hong Kong Limited, 3S Money, United Bank of Africa Group and Volante.

Essa Kazim, governor of DIFC, said: "Dubai's economy continues to grow and DIFC is proud to be a noteworthy contributor to the emirate's GDP and a key creator of employment. The UAE's globally recognised management of the pandemic, strategic investment and business-friendly structural reforms, long-term residency schemes, and innovation-friendly regulatory framework have helped draw entrepreneurial talent from every corner of the world. 

"Our focus in 2023 will be to accelerate the future economy by building upon our already strong position as a preferred gateway for businesses looking to expand into and grow within the massive Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) market and attracting more investment into the UAE's financial sector."

Arif Amiri, chief executive officer of DIFC Authority, said: "Remaining focused on delivering our 2030 Strategy has meant DIFC has had another exceptional year. In line with our vision to drive the future of finance, DIFC's comprehensive FinTech and innovation proposition has created unparalleled opportunities and success for start-ups, global players and unicorns. Our client growth continues to be strong across all sectors. 

"However, we continue to be excited by the high numbers of financial firms and FinTech and innovation clients who are using DIFC as a platform to grow faster than the market. We are confident that DIFC's approach will continue to elevate Dubai's reputation as a hub for technology and innovation, and further strengthen our position as a global centre for financial services."