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February 22, 2024

DIFC unveils five-year innovation strategy for financial services

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and Refinitiv have revealed a five-year outlook for innovation in the financial services industry.

Following the initial wave of innovation sparked during the pandemic, the global financial services industry continues to see major transformations.

Tailored to the evolving preferences and expectations of customers and clients, the high demand for convenient and personalised services has increased competition and continuous disruptions as new players including fintech and Big Tech companies claim their space in an ever-expanding market.

Leveraging automation technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain, and cloud computing are also seeing business model and product innovations that have led to reduced operating costs and streamlining of inefficient processes.

Investments in fintech, projected to grow by 17.2 per cent CAGR to $949bn from 2022 to 2030, are further accelerating the ongoing pace of fintech innovation globally and in Dubai, which offers access to high-growth emerging markets in the MENA, Western Europe, Asia and Africa.

“Combined with access to high-growth emerging markets and DIFC’s world-class financial, regulatory and innovation eco-system, this provides immense opportunities for expansion and innovation,” said Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority.

“At DIFC, we already see Financial Institutions actively joining forces with disruptive start-ups as we collaborate to shape the future of finance in line with our 2030 strategy and beyond.”

DIFC innovation strategy

DIFC and Refinitiv in a report titled Drivers of Innovation in Financial Service unveiled four key trends that will be pivotal in shaping the sector over the next five years.

These include unlocking the potential of open finance, greater decentralisation in finance, the emergence of digital assets as a viable asset class, and the incorporation of environmental, social, and governance considerations across the banking sector.

The report outlines the importance of innovation within established financial institutions to facilitate agile development and improve future competitiveness through frameworks such as venture studios.

“Innovation in the financial industry has become more important than ever with the continuous and fast pace of disruption in the industry pushing all players to find new ways of doing business,” said Nadim Najjar, managing director, CEEMA, London Stock Exchange Group.

“Fintech has been a cornerstone for financial innovation in recent years, introducing a growing range of new technologies that enable new business models, applications, processes, or products.”

A strategic global hub for fintech and Innovation companies in the region, Dubai and DIFC are home to a comprehensive innovation ecosystem that provides financial institutions and fintechs such as with the tools, platforms and regulatory support that enable financial innovation.

Najjar said the report provides an overview of innovation in the financial industry and insights into new financial innovations that will shape the industry in the next five years.

These range from forward-thinking regulations, accelerator, and venture-building platforms, to venture capital and other start-up funding vehicles, and internationally recognised talent development programmes.