Islamic Banking

Dubai Appoints Senior Regulator to Strengthen Appeal

Paul Das, 21 March 2005

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Dubai, which is building up a financial services sector centred on asset and wealth management, has appointed David Knott, the former chairm...

Dubai, which is building up a financial services sector centred on asset and wealth management, has appointed David Knott, the former chairman of Australia’s corporate regulator, as the chief executive of the regulatory authority overseeing Dubai International Financial Centre.

Mr Knott, who left the Australian Securities and Investments Commission in late 2003, will take over in June from David King, who has been the Dubai International Financial Authority’s acting chief executive since the government dismissed the regulator's top two officials last year.

Mr Knott gained a reputation as a tough watchdog in his three-year tenure at ASIC, where he pushed for greater corporate governance standards. Since leaving, he has held an advisory role in the private sector.

Dubai's DIFC entered a difficult period last April when DIFC chairman Anis al-Jallaf sacked the DFSA chief executive, Phillip Thorpe, and DFSA chairman Ian Hay Davison, raising concerns over the independence of the regulatory authority.

The centre launched in September and has so far attracted 31 firms. Eight of them, including Credit Suisse's private banking unit, are operating under financial services licenses issued by the regulatory team to be headed by Mr Knott.

The DIFC will also launch a US-dollar denominated stock exchange in September, fully open to foreign investors.

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