New Office

Dubai Chamber's New London Office Highlights Gulf Link Importance

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 27 June 2023


A few days ago the Dubai International Chamber unveiled its new London operation and this publication was able to interview the organisation about its strategy and approach.

When the Dubai International Chamber’s London branch was launched earlier in June it underscored the rising importance of the links between the two jurisdictions – a point of obvious relevance to wealth managers.

“With $8.1 billion of bilateral trade between the UK and Dubai in 2022, there is a growing need for the jurisdictions to further strengthen their commercial links,” Khalid Al Shamsi, vice president of Operations at Dubai Chambers, told WealthBriefing. “Both cities have well-known financial districts.” 

Khalid Al Shamsi was among those who were present at the opening ceremony in London’s Mandarin Oriental, Hyde Park. Others present included H E Mansoor Abdullah Khalfan Juma Abulhoul, the United Arab Emirates’ Ambassador to the United Kingdom. The new office is DIC’s first representative office in Europe and 20th globally.

“London and Dubai, for example, both have strong interests in developing startups and real estate, to mention just two sectors,” Khalid Al Shamsi said. “This [London office] is a great opportunity for private banks and family businesses to explore investment.”

Dubai, and the wider Gulf Co-operation cluster of jurisdictions want to build their status as international financial hubs, partly driven by a desire to diversify from hydrocarbon energy as an economic motor. And the UK, with its mind on the need for new links post-Brexit, has an obvious incentive to improve its links. Within wealth management, as regularly chronicled by WealthBriefing, jurisdictions such as the Dubai International Financial Centre are pushing themselves forward to attract international as well as local wealth.

“This is the continuation of a journey that has always been happening between Dubai and the UK. A reason for opening this office is that we want to complement local companies and we want them to expand and attract talent,” Khalid Al Shamsi said.

“We want UK-based businesses to use Dubai as a base to expand into East Africa and Asia, and the community [in Dubai] is incomparable…we want to connect the world through Dubai,” he continued. The Chambers are working on ways to improve opportunities for talent and education exchanges between the UK and Dubai, he said. 

Asked about the DIFC’s Family Business Centre (see a launch story here), Khalid Al Shamsi noted that an estimated $1 trillion in assets will be transferred to the next generation in the Middle East during the next decade. “We want to have a cornerstone of governance to safeguard this money,” he said. 

“We are seeking to develop and implement frameworks, rules, and governance that will drive the sustainable success of family businesses,” Khalid Al Shamsi added.

In January this year, WealthBriefing spoke to Arif Amiri, chief executive of the DIFC Authority, to get a sense of the strategy coming out of the jurisdiction.

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