• 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014

Construction commences on the iconic DIFC Gate Building.

Federal Law No. 8 enacted

Establishing the basis for Financial Free Zones throughout the UAE. The law exempts Financial Free Zones from all federal, civil as well as commercial laws within the UAE.

Construction commences on the Gate District.

Dubai Law No. 9 enacted

Facilitating the start of DIFC’s operations. This law recognises the financial and administrative independence of DIFC, and exempts it from certain rules and regulations otherwise applicable in the emirate of Dubai.

Lord Mayor of London welcomes DIFC at Linklaters seminar.

Construction of DIFC Gate Building completed.


Total workforce grows to 75 people.


Total number of companies grows to 19.

Companies that joined DIFC:

Franklin Templeton Investments (BEN)

American International Group (AIG)

HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, appoints two judges to DIFC Court.

DIFC Co-Sponsors Fund Forum in Monaco.

'Industry Initiative of the Year Award'

DIFC wins global 'Industry Initiative of the Year Award' in London.

Nasdaq Dubai

Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX) launched (now Nasdaq Dubai).

DIFC Court holds its first session.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum officially launches DIFC.

DIFC Investments LLC.

Directive by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to incorporate DIFC Investments LLC.
DIFC hosts Barclays' Group Chief Executive in honour of the company's 30th anniversary in the UAE.

Moody's AAA

DIFC earns Moody's AAA quality rating as Lloyds TSB International Private Bank moves in.

Construction of the Gate District completed.

EFG-Hermes joins DIFC.


Total workforce grows to 292 people.


Total number of companies grows to 117.

Companies that joined DIFC

Deutsche Bank AG

Barclays Bank PLC

Bank of America

Credit Suisse

Clifford Chance



Hawkamah Institute for Corporate Governance is established.

DIFC launches investment arm.

ABN AMRO boosts investment banking from DIFC.

Apex Fund Services

becomes first fund administrator at the DIFC.


becomes first specialist compliance firm at DIFC.

Argent Financial Group

announces launch of first DIFC-based hedge fund.

Centre of Excellence is launched

Several professional education programmes, including the world’s first Executive MBA in Islamic Finance, developed by Cass Business School, are offered from the DIFC Centre of Excellence.
DIFC Governor congratulates DIFX (now Nasdaq Dubai) on becoming the world's largest exchange for sukuk.

'DIFC Week' launched.

German Minister of Finance visits DIFC to encourage business opportunities.

Mashreq Capital

launches first specialist fixed-income fund at DIFC.


anniversary celebration

Under the Patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Radhid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, DIFC host a spectacular second anniversary celebration.

Executive MBA Programme

The London Business school launches operations at DIFC, offering a Dubai-London Executive MBA Programme (the first time LBS has set up its own branded programme overseas).

DIFC Judicial Authority publishes the draft Rules of Court.


Total workforce grows to 1,834 people.


Total number of companies grows to 315.

Companies that joined DIFC

The Royal Bank of Scotland

JP Morgan Chase Bank

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking

UBS Bank



Prudential Financial

Goldman Sachs Group


Norton Rose Fulbright


Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Allen & Overy

Standard Charter

Abraaj Capital


Dun & Bradstreet

DIFC issues Data Protection Law.

Merrill Lynch

granted license to open global markets and investment banking office in DIFC.

Art Dubai

DIFC and Gulf Fair (now Art Dubai) announce a strategic partnership with the goal of turning the Art Fair into a major annual event for the contemporary art world.

The Financial Times

and DIFC partner named to host three world financial centres summits.

$1.25 billion

DIFC Investments issue landmark $1.25 billion sukuk.

DIFC Real Property

DIFC Real Property law is enacted allowing companies and individuals to hold freehold ownership of real estate within the financial district.

STEP Awards

DIFC wins International Award for Best Government Initiative at STEP Awards.

DIFC acquires


a globally recognised leader in the development of transaction lifecycle management software used in the back and middle offices of the world’s leading financial institutions.

DIFC Supports Dubai International Film Festival


Total workforce grows to 5,570 people.


Total number of companies grows to 512.

Companies that joined DIFC

Credit Agricole

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ

Societe Generale

Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank

Mizuho Bank


DIFC Authority achieves ISO Certification.

Female Judge

DIFC Courts appoints first female judge in the UAE.


World Insurance Forum

DIFC hosts the World Insurance Forum (WIF), which for the first time was held outside Bermuda.

Exempt Companies Regulations

DIFC Authority releases the Exempt Companies Regulations - a new set of regulations proposed under the Companies Law of 2006 and the Insolvency Law of 2004 that assist financial institutions in carrying out securitisation transactions.


HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

establishes joint venture with the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and inaugurates the DIFC LCIA Arbitration Centre.


Institute of Directors

Mudara – Institute of Directors (IOD) is established. The initiative is aimed at promoting excellence at the board level by facilitating professional development through education, networking, and services to its members.

DIFC and DWTC launch MEFX.

'DIFC Week' is held.

DIFC hosts blood donation campaign.

"Retail Endorsement"

Dubai Financial Services Authority enacts regulatory amendments that allow financial institutions to offer services to retail clients by adding a ‘Retail Endorsement’ to their licence.
DIFC grants Marsh first captive insurance management licence in DIFC.

New Arbitration Law

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum enacts new Arbitration Law of DIFC.

Construction of Gate Village completed.

Construction of Sky Garden Towers completed.

UAE National Judges

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum swears in first UAE National Judges to take office in an International Court of Appeal at DIFC Courts.

DIFC Global expands its offerings to London

DIFC Courts

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum swears-in first UAE National Judges to International Court of Appeal at DIFC Courts.

Small Claims Tribunal

DIFC Courts establish the region’s first Small Claims Tribunal.

Tan Seri Dato Siti Norma Yaakob

from Malaysia becomes the first female common law judge in the UAE.
DIFC's GDP Grows 47.1% from 2007 to 2008 to reach $2.8 billion.


Total workforce grows to 7,800 people.


Total number of companies grows to 747.

Companies that joined DIFC

Industrial & Commercial Bank of China

BlackRock (BLK)

Bank of New York

Mellon Latham & Watkins

DIFC hosts event for Indian Business and Professional Council.

DIFC supports Earth Hour

Liberty House

Construction of Liberty House completed.

DIFC gets full-service immigration office for convenience of member firms.

DIFC Authority

releases comprehensive 'Guide to Re-Insurance and Captives in the DIFC'.

Commercial Building

Construction of Al Fattan Tower (commercial building) completed.


Payment System Settlement Finality (PSSF) Law goes into effect.

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum enacts DIFC's New Payment System Settlement Finality Law.

Amendments to the Companies Law and Insolvency Law go into effect.

Office Building

Construction of Al Fattan Tower (office building) completed.


collaborate to promote Foreign Direct Investment in Middle East and North Africa.

Regional Economic Outlook

DIFC hosts release of Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia by the International Monetary Fund.

5th Anniversary

DIFC celebrates 5 years of success.

Bono Programme

DIFC Courts creates the first pro bono programme in the Middle East.


Total workforce grows to 8,700 people.


Total number of companies grows to 769.

Companies that joined DIFC

BNP Paribas

Jones Day

Zurich Insurance Group

Arts Award

DIFC Is Awarded Inaugural Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Patrons of the Arts Award.

Dubai Cares

DIFC joins hands with Bank Sarasin-Alpen and Alpen Capital to support Dubai Cares.

Construction of Ritz Carlton completed.

Spain and the MEASA region

strengthen economic ties through strategic DIFC and Madrid Centro Financiero partnership.

Construction of Index Tower completed.


Ministry of Finance signs MoU with DIFC Authority to promote cooperation and exchange of expertise.

Economic development of Dubai

Economic Zones World and DIFC meet to discuss collaboration on the economic development of Dubai.

Jordanian Ministry of Justice

DIFC Courts sign first international MoU with the Jordanian Ministry of Justice to enhance cooperation and the exchange of expertise between the two jurisdictions.

UAE’s legal community

In conjunction with the Lord Mayor of London and an accompanying business delegation, the DIFC Courts, the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre and the Dubai Courts host “Towards Economic Recovery – The Role of the Courts and Arbitration” - a landmark event attended by key representatives of the UAE’s legal community.


DIFC Grows to Account for 3.6% of Dubai’s GDP.

STAR Awards

DIFC Courts team takes home the “Best Public Sector Customer Service Award” at the UAE Customer Service Week STAR Awards.


Total workforce grows to 10,800 people.


Total number of companies grows to 794.

Munich RE joins DIFC.

Mortgage Model

DIFC announces mortgage model to revitalise the region’s real estate market.

DIFC hosts economics workshop on regulatory reform and the banking sector.


DIFC strengthens ties with China through strategic partnership with Chengdu.

Construction of Emirates Financial Tower completed.

Construction of Park Tower completed.

Law No. 9 of 2004

HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issues law amending Law No. 9 of 2004.

The jurisdiction of the DIFC Courts

is expanded to include any case in which both parties agree to its jurisdiction.


Total workforce grows to 12,000 people.


Total number of companies grows to 848.


DIFC and Luxembourg for Finance discuss potential collaboration to develop the financial services industry in the GCC.

The Australia Gulf Council

DIFC and The Australia Gulf Council sign a Strategic Partner Agreement.

Connecting with the Far East

A delegation from DIFC Authority meets with companies in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong to discuss the role of Dubai as a financial and logistical hub for Chinese investment into the Middle East and Africa.

DIFC and Deutsche Bank hold DIFC Forum 2012.


DIFC grows 6% over the first half of 2012.

Construction of Daman Towers completed.

Law No. 3, Law No. 4 and Law No. 5

Amendments are made to the Employment Law, DIFC Law No. 3; Real Property Law, DIFC Law No. 4; and Data Protection Law, DIFC Law No. 5.

Law No. 6

Non-Profit Incorporated Organisations Law passed, DIFC Law No. 6.


Employment in DIFC grows over 16% in 2012.


Total workforce grows to 14,105 people.


Total number of companies grows to 912.

Companies that joined DIFC

Agricultural Bank of China

Bank of China

Well Fargo

Swiss RE


opens new offices in DIFC.


DIFC reaches 1,000-company milestone.

Cityscape Global

DIFC unveils updated master plan at Cityscape Global.

China-UAE ties

High-level delegation visit to DIFC strengthens China-UAE ties.

7% growth

DIFC records 7% growth in active registered companies and employment in first half of 2013.

Amendments are made to DIFC Law No. 1 of 2013

affecting the Companies Law, General Partnership Law, Limited Partnership Law, Limited Liability Partnership Law, Arbitration Law and Non Profit Incorporated Organisations Law.

IFC signs MoUs

with the English Commercial Court in the UK and the New South Wales Supreme Court in Australia.


Total workforce grows to 15,600 people.


Total number of companies grows to 1,039.

Companies that joined DIFC

China Construction Bank Corporation.

DIFC Celebrates 10th Anniversary