Dubai Financial Market to leave the only home it has ever known

The Dubai Financial Market, the emirate’s main stock exchange, is to construct a new high-tech headquarters in Business Bay, ending its 16-year presence in the historic World Trade Centre.

DFM is to seek tenders for the multimillion dollar building on land that has been given to it by the government-owned developer Dubai Properties, valued at Dh231 million, in a move that marks a significant southward shift in the financial centre of gravity in Dubai.

Essa Kazim, DFM’s chairman, told The National: “It is a very good site, looking over Sheikh Zayed Road by the entry to Business Bay. It’s very close to the Dubai International Financial Centre and at the heart of the new Dubai. It will be a custom-made building that can accommodate our own and the brokers’ requirements, and will have a significant data-recovery capability.”

Designers and architects will be asked to submit plans for the new project, which should be completed in three to four years, he said. DFM has been considering a move to a new HQ for some time, weighing the attractions of Business Bay or a site within DIFC precincts. The quality of the Business Bay site, and issues of regulation, swung the decisions in its favour.

DFM is regulated by the federal Securities and Commodities Authority, while DIFC entities fall under the Dubai Financial Services Authority.

The market will move out of the 38-year-old World Trade Centre, where it has been since it was founded in 2000, with its characteristic oak-panelled trading floor. Mr Kazim said he was considering whether to include a physical trading floor in the new design. “Even in these days of sophisticated financial technology, a trading floor is good for marketing and ceremonial purposes. But we will see what the brokers want. Their business requirements are very important.”

It is too early to say what will happen to the trade centre’s current premises. The tower, which houses big corporate and financial tenants as well as DFM, is the centrepiece of the expanding Dubai International Convention Centre.

A statement on the DFM website confirmed the upcoming move, according to the requirements for disclosing material information.

“Kindly note that the DFM has received free of cost a land plot from Dubai Properties subsidiary of Dubai Holding in the Business Bay in Dubai, noted that the land plot measuring 10,232.9 square meters with market value Dh231m to construct its main building that will house the market’s future headquarters, in line with the market development vision.”

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