Living and working in Central London has become hard even for well-paid banking staff. The public transport is dirty and unreliable; the weather notoriously bad; accommodation expensive and cramped; and UK citizens pay tax while many foreigners living in their capital avoid such payments and live better than nationals can afford.
Small wonder is it then that a tax-free environment like Dubai is attractive to bankers. They will pay no income tax. They will pay no taxes on their investment income, or on capital gains. And it is the same tax regime for everybody who lives in Dubai.
From a business perspective Standard Chartered Bank is also revealed as being particularly bright. The bank was clever enough to invest in its own building in the new DIFC a few years ago which is now fine asset on its balance sheet, and offers relatively low-cost accommodation.
Moreover, these offices are within a financial free zone with more than a hundred of the financial institutions that Standard Chartered serves as the ‘bank to the banks’.
State-of-the-art offices, customers on your doorstep in a purpose built financial zone, it does not get much better for bankers who will also find that they can park their cars under the DIFC. Even the traffic jams of Dubai have shown signs of improvement recently with hundreds of millions spent on new roads.
When did the City of London last make a serious investment in its transport infrastructure? There have been no major roads built in the centre of London for over forty years.
And if the UK capital is unacceptably congested then the soaring cost of living just adds to the attraction for both business and individuals to seek out a new alternative with an attractive lifestyle at a lower cost.
Step forward cosmopolitan Dubai with its tolerant and welcoming attitude to expatriates, superb new villas and apartments, excellent global aviation links, great golf and hotels, a high quality of life for well-paid bankers and unlimited free sunshine.
It will be interesting to hear if anyone offered an incentive package by Standard Chartered Bank decides to stay in London. Is this not like the Australian penal colonies that were finally abandoned when people were committing crimes to get a free passage out of the UK?
Dubai will clearly be glad to be winning another set of high-rolling expatriates that any country would be happy to accommodate. Rumor has it that HSBC has secured a large tower in Dubai and that Credit Suisse has only postponed a similar move.
Saturday, June 2- 2007 @ 8:30 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.