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DIFC unveils five year innovation outlook for financial services

  • Open finance, decentralised finance, digital assets, and ESG-related finance identified as key trends driving innovation in the next five years

Dubai, UAE: A report titled ‘Drivers of Innovation in Financial Services’ issued today by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region, in collaboration with Refinitiv, a London Stock Exchange Group business and one of the world’s largest providers of financial markets data and infrastructure, reveals 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 (AI), 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 USD 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 Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Western Europe, Asia and Africa.

The report unveils four key trends that will be pivotal in shaping the sector over the next five years, unlocking the potential of open finance, greater decentralisation in finance, the emergence of digital assets as a viable asset class, and the incorporation of ESG considerations across banking operations.

Additionally, 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.

A strategic global hub for FinTech and Innovation companies in the region, Dubai and DIFC is home to a comprehensive innovation eco-system that provides financial institutions and FinTechs alike with the tools, platforms and regulatory support that enable financial innovation. 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.

Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “Investments in FinTech, projected to grow by 17.2 per cent CAGR to USD 949bn between 2022 and 2030, are accelerating the ongoing pace of FinTech innovation globally and in Dubai. 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. 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.”

Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, CEEMA, London Stock Exchange Group, said: “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. FinTech has been a cornerstone for the financial innovation in recent years, introducing a growing range of new technologies that enable new business models, applications, processes, or products. The ‘Drivers of Innovation in Financial Services’ report provides an overview of innovation in the financial industry, and insights on new financial innovations that will shape the industry in the next five years.”

The report was validated during a DIFC-hosted roundtable with industry leaders Gavin Payne, Head of Emerging Technology, Amazon; Akshay Chopra, VP, Head of Innovation & Design, Visa CEMEA; Danyaal Z. Abdul-Khaliq, Director of Innovation at E& Enterprise; and Alan Francis, SVP, First Abu Dhabi Bank. Other speakers included Youssouf Kamal, Managing Partner, U+ Digital Ventures; Hussam Ziadeh, Partner, Stryber; Simas Ceckauskas, Director, FutureLabs; and Marie d’Hullain, Head of Projects Portfolio, Commercial Bank of Dubai. Representing DIFC Launchpad at the roundtable was Steve Gotz, Corporate Innovation, and Michele Scataglini, Innovation Strategy. Silvina Bruggia, Director, Sustainable Finance, Emerging Markets, Refinitiv, moderated the session. 

Learn more about the key sectors and trends in financial innovation by downloading the complimentary ‘Drivers of Innovation in Financial Services’ report here.

About LSEG

LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group) is a leading global financial markets infrastructure and data provider, playing a vital social and economic role in the world’s financial system. With our open approach, trusted expertise and global scale, we enable the sustainable growth and stability of our customers and their communities. We are dedicated partners with extensive experience, deep knowledge and a worldwide presence in data and analytics; indices; capital formation; and trade execution, clearing and risk management across multiple asset classes. LSEG is headquartered in the United Kingdom, with significant operations in 70 countries across EMEA, North America, Latin America and Asia Pacific. We employ 23,000 people globally, more than half located in Asia Pacific. LSEG’s ticker symbol is LSEG.

For media enquiries, please contact:   
Tarek Fleihan
Global Communications
London Stock Exchange Group
[email protected]
[email protected]

About Dubai International Financial Centre

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and an estimated GDP of USD 8 trillion.

With a close to 20-year track record of facilitating trade and investment flows across the MEASA region, the Centre connects these fast-growing markets with the economies of Asia, Europe and the Americas through Dubai. 

DIFC is home to an internationally recognised, independent regulator and a proven judicial system with an English common law framework, as well as the region’s largest financial ecosystem of over 39,000 professionals working across over 4,900 active registered companies – making up the largest and most diverse pool of industry talent in the region. 

The Centre’s vision is to drive the future of finance through cutting-edge technology, innovation, and partnerships. Today, it is the global future of finance and innovation hub offering one of the region’s most comprehensive FinTech and venture capital environments, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, innovative accelerator programmes, and funding for growth-stage start-ups.  

Comprising a variety of world-renowned retail and dining venues, a dynamic art and culture scene, residential apartments, hotels and public spaces, DIFC continues to be one of Dubai’s most sought-after business and lifestyle destinations. 

For further information, please visit our website: difc.ae, or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @DIFC. 

For media enquiries, please contact:   
Omar Nasro
ASDA’A BCW
[email protected]  
Rasha Mezher | Dubai International Financial Centre Authority  
Consultant, Marketing & Corporate Communications
[email protected]