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Dubai seeks to build regional financial lead

Dubai is moving fast to develop an international financial centre with strategic links to western markets. Its plans are ambitious but UAE regulatory problems, regional rivalries and simmering political tensions might prove to be stumbling blocks.


DUBAI'S PLANS FOR the development of its financial sector have taken a new step forward with the appointment of Ian Hay Davison to head the regulatory council of a proposed international financial centre.

The grandeur of the design, which envisages a capital market as well as insurance, offshore banking and Islamic banking centres, is typical of the approach Dubai has adopted in efforts at modernizing and diversifying its economy. While other Gulf states anguished over the need to provide investable opportunities for local and international money, Dubai has moved characteristically rapidly since the announcement of the project last November.

As well as the appointment of Hay Davison, a former chief executive of the Lloyd's of London insurance market and sometime managing partner at Arthur Andersen, a shortlist of three has been drawn up for the post of chief commissioner responsible for regulation and enforcement. An appointment is expected in a couple of months.

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