In a preliminary release disclosed exclusively to International Adviser, Insight Discovery revealed there are about 160 advisory firms regulated in the United Arab Emirates, arguably the financial centre of the GCC.
These firms are regulated by three different authorities. The Insurance Authority (IA) which regulates the sale of insurance products ‘onshore’, i.e. outside the freezones based inside the UAE, the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA), which also regulates asset managers and the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which regulates firms within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
Not surprisingly the number of DFSA-regulated firms comes in at the lowest, with just a handful of firms based there, most notably Killik & Co and Arbuthnot.
Perhaps more surprising is that there are now 17 advisory firms regulated by the ESCA, and so are authorised to sell funds to retail clients and advise on capital redemption plans such as those sold by providers Skandia International and Standard Life, both of which are based in the DIFC.
The number of advisory firms regulated by the IA, meanwhile, is 141. This has remained relatively static over the past few years as the regulator blocked new licences in 2008. There is some speculation this moratorium may be lifted later this year when the IA introduces sweeping regulatory changes.
Insight Discovery chief executive Nigel Sillitoe said it was now researching the other GCC countries to build the report, available to subscribers to its Middle East Investment Panorama.
He said: “Given the trend for service providers to only deal with regulated firms, it is more important than ever for providers to understand the size of the market and who is regulated by which authorities.”