As the millionaire population in Dubai continues to surge, wealth managers from around the world have set their sights on the thriving Emirati market. With its business-friendly environment and concentration of high net worth individuals, the city offers lucrative opportunities for both established firms and startups looking to manage large pools of wealth. 

Dubai's Growing Millionaire Population

Dubai has long capitalized on its strategic location between East and West to become a regional financial hub. In recent years, its pro-business policies have also made it a magnet for millionaires across the Middle East and beyond. According to a report by Henley & Partners, the city is now home to over 72,500 people with at least $1 million in liquid assets outside their primary residences. With 212 centi-millionaires and 15 billionaires, Dubai boasts the highest concentration of wealth in the region.

This growing affluence has not gone unnoticed by the global wealth management industry. Last month alone, over a dozen firms set up new offices within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the emirate’s flagship financial free zone. These included both established names like Novia Global and Point72 as well as emerging players like 24 Capital Management. With more than 370 wealth and asset managers now located in the DIFC, it has become a magnet for the sector. 

The appeal is easy to understand. As the report notes, Dubai has triple the number of millionaires as any other Middle Eastern city. The region as a whole manages $4.7 trillion in capital through state-owned investors and family offices. With so much private wealth concentrated locally, the opportunities for professional advisors are immense. By establishing a presence in Dubai, global firms gain access to the region’s elite investor base as well as a strategic hub to service clients throughout the Gulf and beyond.

For local investors, the influx of international wealth managers represents a significant deepening of available expertise and offerings. In addition to traditional stock picking and portfolio management, Dubai’s wealthy now have their choice of niche alternative investment specialists as well as advisors well-versed in global opportunities. The competitive landscape also encourages continuous innovation, with new digital platforms, ESG products and customized family office services emerging. 

Of course, the millionaire boom shows no signs of slowing. As Dubai further diversifies its economy and strengthens regional trade links, more business owners and executives will surely join the ranks of the wealthy. Meanwhile, the city’s tax-free environment will continue attracting expat talent as well as foreign retirees looking to stretch their nest eggs. All of this points to growing pools of investible assets for many years to come.

In this exciting new stage of Dubai’s rise, wealth managers have a clear role to play. By bringing global best practices and the latest investment strategies to the emirate’s deep-pocketed residents, they can help optimize the deployment of the region’s enormous private capital. At the same time, establishing early beachheads in this fast-growing market will give international firms a valuable foothold to leverage future growth. If history is any guide, those that stake their claim now will reap great rewards in the decades ahead as Dubai’s wealth management potential fully blossoms.