Rich In Dubai

Mar 07, 2024



Dubai is home to 13 billionaires, 202 centi-millionaires, and around 68,000 millionaires

  • According to a recent worldwide survey, Dubai is home to 13 billionaires, 202 centi-millionaires, and around 68,000 millionaires.
    • In a survey of the cities with the most billionaires globally, Dubai placed 23rd, while Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Riyadh, and Doha were among the fastest growing on the list, doing particularly well this year.
    • According to the most recent Henley Global Citizens Report, the United States will dominate the world's Top 20 Cities with the most billionaires in 2022. While New York is the wealthiest city in the world, with 345,600 millionaires, five other American cities — San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Dallas — all make the list.
  • The most recent research, which tracks private wealth and investment movement patterns throughout the globe, emphasizes how Dubai's very diverse economy has catapulted it to a global position.
    • The Dubai economy is strong in various vital areas, including basic commodities, hotels, financial services, oil and gas, real estate, retail, and transportation. The research also identifies wealthy districts in Dubai as Emirates Hills, Jumeirah Golf Estates, and the Palm Jumeirah.
  • According to Andrew Amoils, Head of Research at New World Wealth, Dubai's wealthy population is rapidly expanding. The emirate, Mumbai (25th), and Shenzhen (30th) are anticipated to enter the top 20 wealthiest cities by 2030.
    • Amoils also noted that towns with significant oil and gas businesses, such as Riyadh, Sharjah, Luanda, Abu Dhabi, Doha, and Lagos, are doing exceptionally well this year.
    • Other intriguing locations on the fastest-growing list include Lugano, a prominent Swiss magnet for wealthy European retirees. Bengaluru, often known as the 'Garden City' and the 'Silicon Valley of India,' is producing billionaires as a result of its fast-expanding IT, biotechnology, and business process outsourcing industries. Hangzhou, one of China's most beautiful towns, is another wealth magnet to keep an eye on."
    • Tokyo comes second with 304,900 high-net-worth residents (HNWIs) worth more than  $1 million, while London, the wealthiest city in the world for many years, falls to fourth position, behind the San Francisco Bay Area, with just 272,400 resident millionaires.


Why The World’s Wealthy Have Quietly Moved To Dubai

  • This summer, fresh from the West Coast of the U.S., a tech entrepreneur arrived in Dubai. In tow were his family, their family office and a fleet of 30 luxury cars. Everything a billionaire needs to start a new life in Dubai.
    • “It's very safe here for my children. L.A. isn't what it used to be. Crime has risen since Covid,” says the entrepreneur in his mid-50s who did not want to be named. 
    • Finding a house with space for 30 cars was not easy, says Rohal Kohyar, marketing director of Luxhabitat Sotheby's International Realty. Eventually a villa on its own private estate was identified. It had a basement that could be converted into a giant garage.
    • Nor was setting up the family office straightforward. Family offices on this scale manage hundreds of millions of dollars in private wealth, a task that requires a team of around 30 specialists.
    • “We've had to increase the salary for an E.A. (executive assistant) position for it to be attractive for people to come back to the U.A.E.,” says Zahra Clark, head of the MENA region for Tiger Recruitment.
  • During the pandemic many expats left Dubai for home. But with so many wealthy families now relocating to Dubai, recruiters are having to offer big incentives to lure investment professionals back to the Emirate.
    • Kohyar estimates 20 billionaires have bought property in Dubai this year, and Luxhabitat Sotheby's International Realty has seen around a 300% increase in business compared with the same period last year.
    • According to the Dubai Land Department, the volume of property sales in Dubai increased by 136.5% in August compared to the same month last year. Villa sales were up 124% thanks in part to the sale of several Dh 100 million ($27 million) villas in Dubai Hills Grove area. "Normally we do one or two Dh 100 million ($27 million) deals a year. This year we've already done nine of them," says Kohyar.
    • Real estate booms have come before, but this time is different, says Kohyar. “Now people are buying these luxury properties to actually live in them with their families.” 
  • And they are in a rush, he says. Buyers are not waiting around for developments to be finished off. “They have to be ready now now." The rich are suddenly in a hurry.
  • There is something else happening in Dubai that is different: People are coming from further afield. Kohyar says most of his clients are coming from major European countries, like the U.K., Switzerland and Germany. Of the super-rich setting up family offices in Dubai, Clark says most are from the U.S. and U.K. Other recruiters say there is a heightened interest from Singapore and Hong Kong.
  • Many were impressed with the way Dubai handled the pandemic. 
    • Vaccines were rolled out quickly among Dubai's three million residents, P.C.R. tests are cheap and available, and the country only suffered a brief lockdown in March and April of 2020. "We're busier now than pre-Covid. This will continue for as long as Europe, U.K. and the U.S. can't get things right in how they're dealing with the Covid situation," says Clark.
  • But in reality, the pandemic hit Dubai very hard. Thousands of skilled expats started heading home as jobs dried up, the cost of living spiraled and they worried about being stranded abroad.
    • Dubai's rulers suddenly realized the fallibility of their economy. Expats brought with them businesses, wealth and entertainment. Without them, Dubai's own talented or entrepreneurial youth might follow them overseas.
  • In an effort to reverse this brain drain, the U.A.E. government started offering "golden visas" to high achievers. The 10-year residency visa was created in 2019, but since the beginning of this year it has been handed out to top students, successful entrepreneurs and award-winning actors.
    • In July, 45 students who scored more than 95% in their exams were granted golden visas. Raghad Muaiyad Asseid Danawi, a 17-year-old Jordanian student studying at Dubai's Qatr Al Nada School was among them. "This is a great opportunity for me, my parents and siblings," she told Khaleej Times.
  • That same month, the U.A.E. made 100,000 golden visas available to computer coders. Having lost out to Europe, Israel and Silicon Valley, Dubai now wants to establish itself as a tech hub and has a target to establish 1,000 major digital companies over the next five years.
    • Alongside students and computer coders, the U.A.E. has also been handing out golden visas to actors. Yasmin Abdelaziz, a popular Egyptian actress was given a golden visa in July, joining a trio of Lebanese pop-stars-Najwa Karam, Marwan Khoury and Ragheb Alama-who have already been given the visa.
  • All of this makes Dubai more attractive for the wealthy. For Dh 10 million ($2.7 million) they too can have a golden visa. And, thanks to a new law introduced in February this year, (Decree Law 19), they can bring their family offices with them.
  • But perhaps the most enticing thing about U.A.E. for the lack of income tax. When other parts of the world, and especially the U.S. and U.K., are mooting wealth taxes to pay for the pandemic, Dubai suddenly looks much more attractive
    • And, if they start moving their businesses or family offices here, they are more likely to stick around, says Kohyar: "This surge right now is more on a personal level, it's more rounded, and we think this is going to be much more sustainable because people are moving here with their families and with their businesses so they'll definitely stay."


Why millionaires are moving to Dubai

  • According to the Q2 2022 Henley Global Citizens Report, the UAE is expected to receive up to 4,000 HNWIs (with a networth greater than US$ 1 million) by the end of the year - making it the country for millionaires to operate from.
    • The country's quick reaction to COVID-19 through its vaccination drives, its overall stable weather, great diplomatic relations, peace, a robust economy, a positive business environment, and low crime rates was among the many factors that millionaires are choosing to make Dubai their new home.
  • Other factors include success in numerous key sectors including financial services, oil and gas, real estate, travel and tourism, technology, and healthcare, with a first-class healthcare system. 
    • In terms of lifestyle, the UAE also offers top-end apartments and villas and world-class shopping malls and restaurants. For those with children, there are excellent international schools, and many beaches with water sports, and other leisure activities. It's not uncommon for multi-millionaires to have their yachts parked at various locations such as Jumeira Bay and Dubai Marina. The projected increase in millionaires is currently estimated at about 4%. 
  • The UAE is expected to have 92,600 UHNWIs in the country by the end of the year. Based on the report, there are 4,000 multi-millionaires (with a networth greater than US$10 million), 251 centi-millionnaires (with a networth greater than US$100 million), and 14 billionaires based in the country as of 2021.
  • 2023 is set to be the year with the highest number of UHNWI migrations, most of them being millennials. The UAE's digital nomad visa in addition to its investor programs offers a tempting incentive to those looking to make this country their home, in addition to competitive tax rates and no taxes on personal income. 
    • Most of the millionaires coming to the UAE hail from Russia, India, Africa, and the rest of the Middle East, according to the report. Before the pandemic, the UAE reportedly attracted around 1,000 millionaires per year - this amount has increased four-fold. 


Top 10 Richest People in Dubai, UAE 

  • We all strive to become rich, wealthy to live the life we have ever dreamt of. But it’s not an overnight journey, it’s a long process. 
  • Every richest person today was once a normal person like us. It can be said hard-work, fate, or anything. 
    • As the statement above states, rich people don’t spend their money to show-off at the inception, they first accumulate the wealth and then spend it for their entire life. Before you spend on luxury, make luxury your normal.
  • We all might know the Top 10 richest people in the world. As they are well known to the world. But do we know who the top billionaires in Dubai are?
  •  Majid Al Futtaim
    • Majid Al Futtaim is the richest person of Dubai, UAE in 2023 with net worth at $6.2 billion. HE is the chairman of Majid Al Futtaim Group. This group is the privately owned company which invests in real estate, entertainment and car distribution. He was honored with many awards for his contributions in the field of entertainment, philanthropy and development.
  •  Abdulla Bin Ahmad Al Ghurair
    • Abdulla Bin Ahmad Al Ghurair is the second wealthiest person in Dubai after Majid Al Futtaim. He was the Chairman of Mashreq, Emirati Bank. He stepped down as a Chairman of the Bank back in 2019. Mashreq bank is one of the top largest banks in Dubai. Abdulla Bin Ahmad Al Ghurair has a net worth of $4.9 billion as of 2023. He has been part of many social welfare works in the UAE. 
  • 3. Ravi Pillai
    • Ravi Pillai is the third richest man in Dubai in 2023 with Net worth of $4.2 billion. He is an Indian billionaire from Dubai. He was born in Kerala, India. He is the founder of RP group.
  • M.A Yusuff
    • M.A Yusuff is also an Indian billionaire in Dubai with a net worth of $3.7 billion in 2023. He is the founder and chairman of Lulu Group.
    •  Lulu groups operate a chain of retail companies and hypermarkets. He was honored by many awards and accomplishments during his life.
      • Gold Medal from The Institute of Directors UK
      • Businessman of the year 2009
      • Lifetime achievement Award at Indian CEO Awards
      • Swiss Ambassador Award
      • Arab Business Leader of the Year 2012
  • Micky Jagtiani
    • Micky Jagtiani was also an Indian billionaire in Dubai with a net worth of $ 3.1 billion. He was the owner of Landmark Group which is involved in the business of retail of footwear, consumer electronics, beauty products and apparel.


A Billionaire's Guide to Dubai

  • Nicknamed 'The City of Gold' thanks to its ostentatious rise from pearl fishing village to glittering metropolis in just 50 years, Dubai is the richest and showiest city in the Middle East.
    • Home to hundreds of ultra-millionaires and dozens of billionaires, it’s the place to enjoy yourself if money is no object (gold-dispensing ATM anyone?) With all eyes on the oil-rich Emirate in advance of the mammoth Expo 2020, here’s how to enjoy a gilded slice of the mega-rich action yourself…
  • Dubai is a supercar lover’s paradise (even the police here drive Ferraris, Bugattis and Lamborghinis) and now a leading luxury hotel brand is offering guests the opportunity to join the big-ticket traffic.
    • . In 2020, those staying at select Waldorf Astoria properties in Dubai, including the lustrous Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, can channel their inner 007 by slipping behind the wheel of a new Aston Martin for weekend driving experiences on certain dates. Our tip? Head straight for the desert and live out your James Bond fantasies amid the shifting dunes and flaming sandscapes on the city’s outskirts. Then, after returning your ride, decelerate gently in the hotel's spectacular 18th floor spa – complete with Bond villain-worthy Vichy shower.
  • Dubai’s most exclusive bar isn’t easy to find – and that’s exactly the way the patrons like it. 
    • Secreted behind a kitsch souvenir shop, which itself is tucked beneath a Greek restaurant, NYX is strictly invite only, so you might need the help of a company like Ten Lifestyle Group (a global travel and lifestyle concierge service) in order to get onto the list. 
    • Once you’re finally inside this elite neon den it’ll all be worth it – you’ll be rubbing shoulders and clinking glasses with the cream of Dubai’s movers and shakers, as well as a healthy smattering of visiting celebrities.
  • There’s no better place in the world to eat brunch than in Dubai. Weekends here fall on Fridays and Saturdays, and on both days the most luxurious hotels and eateries stage extraordinarily lavish feasts, eternally attempting to out-do each other. 
  • (Think all you can eat - but caviar, lobster, oysters on the half shell and bottomless champagne). Stand out stars for the scene/being seen (and the most delicious food) include the showy Armani/Deli at the foot of record-breaking Burj Khalifa, swanky Zuma with its incredible sashimi and dim sum, and the time-honoured Maine Bar and Grill with its exuberant twist on comfort food - and mouthwatering views of the coastline.
  • They say you haven’t seen Dubai until you’ve seen it from above – and the best way to do that is from a hot air balloon at dawn: soaring away from twinkling skyscrapers and out over the vast, rolling dunes of the Arabian Desert at 4,000ft. There are plenty of options here, but Hilton Luxury Experiences offer one of the finest: a sunrise champagne flight with your own private falcon - followed by a gourmet breakfast at a desert retreat.
  • If the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah sounds like a ridiculously big name for a hotel, you should see the size of its Royal Suite. One of the largest hotel rooms on the planet, the gargantuan pad spans a mind-bending 1,567 square metres, taking up the entire top floor of the hotel. Accessed via a private VIP lift, it’ll set you back a cool £17,000 a night - but you’ll be able to enjoy jaw-dropping 360-degree views of the Arabian Gulf and Palm Jumeirah from its many balconies, as well as in-room dining from three Michelin-starred chef Heinz Beck.


Money Can Buy Happiness: Here's How The Rich In Dubai Spend Their Fortunes 

  • When it comes to the filthy rich and super-elite of the world, Dubai is one of their main getaways, causing places like New York and Miami to pale in comparison to the over-indulgent opulence found throughout the streets.
    • Located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as one of its main cities, Dubai is home to some of the world's richest residents due to the monopolized oil reserve in the Middle East. 
    • And with the rising price of gas around the world, we can all clearly see the economic impact of oil, both good and bad. Some of the world's most influential names in sports and entertainment also own property in Dubai, such as Lindsay Lohan, David and Victoria Beckham, and Giorgio Armani. Also spotted frequenting Dubai have been celebrities such as Wiz Khalifa, Eve, Gucci Mane, Usher, Neyo, Akon, Eva Longoria, and Wanya Morris from Boyz II Men.
  • But what draws these rich and famous celebrities to this city that's basically in the Middle Eastern Desert? Just a rough guess, but it may have something to do with the solid gold toilet bowls and the extravagant architecture that adorns the landscape. These are just some of the ways in which the rich spend their money in Dubai.
  • We know that places like New York City and Los Angeles are notorious for the yellow taxi cab - if you're in need of transportation, just hail a taxi. And even more popular nowadays is the Uber transportation service that you can always schedule in advance for pickups or drop-offs. But in the land of the ultra-rich, Saudi billionaires avoid traffic altogether by hiring helicopters to travel across town. 
    • You can either charter a helicopter as a tourist for sightseeing or, if you're as much as the billionaires who live in the city of gold, you can ride your own private helicopter in the United Arab Emirates. But if you're like Angelina Jolie or Harrison Ford, riding your own helicopter is nothing new to you.
  • Another seemingly ridiculous event that the rich in Dubai spend their money on is camel racing with mini-robots. Ever since 2002, child riders have been outlawed from the sport in the United Arab Emirates, so to keep the fun going, they opted to use robots as camel jockeys instead, better known as robot jockeys. 
    • Unlike the camel racing in Australia that uses actual humans, Dubai uses mechanical jockeys weighing about two kilograms each, with an automatic motorized whip that lashes the camel ever so often. This is supposed to make the sport much safer, but the stakes are still as high for betters!
  • It's no secret that the rich in Dubai is obsessed with the shiny yellow metal we call gold. From gold-painted cars and solid-gold crafted toilet bowls, gold seems to be the thing that qualifies someone as being in the billionaire's paradise. 
    • So when they get tired of counting wads of cash, they can head across to the golden ATM machine and withdraw either gold coins, bars, or medallions. Sound hard to believe? According to The Travel, not only can users withdraw golden coins and bars, but the ATM itself is also gold. Even the richest rappers in the industry with thick gold ropes have nothing on the amount of gold that's available here.
  • We've heard of Mike Tyson keeping tigers as pets on his property, but his fascination pales in comparison to the number of billionaires in Dubai who have adopted exotic animals as domesticated pets, from lions and tigers to bears and cheetahs. 
    • However, despite their love of wild animals, in 2017 the UAE outlawed the keeping of wild animals as pets. According to BBC, owners who keep these big cats or other exotic animals as pets can be fined up to $50,000 dirhams (USD $13,600) and face up to six months in prison. This is pennies to a billionaire, so many of them persist with their feline fetish.
  • We often admire the car collections of superstars like Floyd Mayweather, Snoop Dogg, and Nicki Minaj. But while their cars are worth more than many people earn in an entire lifetime, they're nothing next to some of the vehicles seen in Dubai. 
    • Sure, there are Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, and Ferraris trafficked up and down the streets, but some of these sports vehicles are extremely extravagant like an entire Mercedes Benz covered in white gold or a gold-decked SUV or Lamborghini that skates by like a lightning rod on the roadway. Dubai's rich definitely know how to make the term "Midas Touch" a literal thing.
  • If there's one thing that makes Dubai a hot spot for travelers besides its picturesque sceneries and opulent living is its lavish hotels. Not only are these hotels an amazing sight to behold because of their unique architectural designs, but they also vary in price per night. Beginning from as cheap as $55 a night, like the Millennium Airport Hotel, all the way to $466 a night, like at Atlantis, The Palm. One of the reasons the Atlantis is so pricey is likely because it features underwater rooms. That's right! Celebrities such as Khloe Kardashian, Robert Dinero, Naomi Campbell, and Michael Jordan have also experienced the exclusivity of this hotel suite.


Billionaires Island Draws Super Rich to Secluded Dubai Enclave

  • During the early days of the pandemic, Dubai’s property market was in turmoil, with an abundance of unsold homes and scant prospects for a recovery in the oil-rich region. But for Akshay Naheta, that proved the perfect time to buy.
    • The former SoftBank Group Corp. executive said he started scooping up land — gaining a partial interest in 20% of the plots on the city’s secluded, seahorse-shaped Jumeirah Bay Island. Now, after several years of construction, that bet looks set to pay off as he and Lebanese developer Wissam Damaa launch a collection of 10 mega-mansions on the isle and neighboring coast of La Mer.
    • Under the umbrella of their Dubai-based developer Palace Luxury Living, the pair said in an interview they expect to sell the villas for more than 2 billion dirhams ($545 million) in total.
  • The isle, known locally as Billionaires Island, has gained traction in recent years as a preferred place for the super rich — and some wealthy exiles — who’ve relocated to the United Arab Emirates. Brokers say the number of billionaires per square kilometer exceeds any spot in the UAE, including Palm Jumeirah, Emirates Hills and Dubai Hills.
    • The gated community, which boasts a yacht club, beach resort and fine-dining restaurants, is already home to Saudi billionaire Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel as well as Israeli gambling tycoon Teddy Sagi, according to people familiar with the matter, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. Angolan magnate Isabel dos Santos and the wife of Russian billionaire Andrei Skoch also have houses in the neighborhood, while football star Cristiano Ronaldo purchased a mansion that’s set for handover in 2024, the people said.
  • Highflyers without homes in the neighborhood also use Jumeirah Bay Island as a base when they visit Dubai, such as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who stayed at the Bulgari resort earlier this year, people familiar with the matter said.
  • Dubai’s property market recently broke a decade-long record for home sales as the local government relaxed visa laws and introduced permits for job seekers and freelancers. 
    • The surge has been driven by an influx of high net worth individuals, from rich Indians seeking second homes to crypto millionaires and Russian buyers.
  • Still, Dubai has over the years often had sharp booms and busts in its real estate market. S&P Global Ratings has cautioned that the emirate’s record property prices may start to fall by the end of next year after the recent hot stretch.
  • Large patches of the Jumeirah Bay Island were undeveloped until recently. It opened only in 2017 and then construction slowed as Covid-19 started to spread.
  • That’s changing with a series of projects from Palace Luxury Living and others.
    • One of Palace Luxury Living’s 30,000 square foot mansions on the island features six bedrooms, private beach access and a seven-car showroom along with a spa, staff quarters and a rooftop pool with a full view of the downtown Dubai skyline.
    • Along the shore of La Mer is the developer’s 37,000 square foot Geode mansion, which has a lush courtyard at its heart as well as six bedroom suites and an indoor lap pool.
  • The villas sit along a stretch of the sun-splashed city that the pair dubs “the Golden Mile of Dubai” because of its five-star hotels, including the Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons and Bulgari Resort plus Saint-Tropez style beach clubs.
    • The mansions in the collection are 20,000 to 45,000 square feet, each valued upwards of 100 million dirhams ($27 million), according to Damaa, the developer.
  • Naheta, who bought his own Jumeirah Bay Island mansion in late 2020, compared the present buzz in Dubai’s luxury market to the rebound he saw in Hong Kong real estate during the mid-2000s. The isle’s relaxing vibe but close proximity to the financial center and international airport appealed to him, he said.
  • Even if Dubai’s real estate market slows, some brokers say the impact could be less visible in the luxury market.
    • “The wave of a HNWIs is a separate segment and less prone to general economic turmoils like higher interest rates,” said Asiya Khasnutdinova, a senior property consultant at Dubai Sotheby’s International Realty. “A lot of them are end-users and at the moment the Dubai lifestyle continues to be more and more attractive.”


Egypt’s Richest Man Nassef Sawiris Joins Billionaire Migration to Abu Dhabi

  •  [Hook]
  • Nassef Sawiris is moving his family office to Abu Dhabi, joining a wave of prominent investors that have set up operations in the sun-splashed emirate.
    • The Egyptian billionaire intends to re-domicile NNS Group in Abu Dhabi Global Market, the city-state’s international financial center, subject to regulatory approval. From there, NNS Group aims to build significant stakes in a concentrated number of companies, primarily in Europe, the Middle East and North America, the firm said.
  • Sawiris is Egypt’s wealthiest man, with a net worth of about $7.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He has invested in German sporting-goods maker Adidas AG as well as English soccer club Aston Villa.
  • The move by Sawiris underscores his embrace of Abu Dhabi, an emirate with wealth funds overseeing more than $1 trillion. 
    • Dutch chemical producer OCI NV, where Sawiris is chairman, listed its joint fertilizer venture with Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. in the emirate in late 2021. 
    • It also comes as the United Arab Emirates lures investing titans from Ray Dalio to Alan Howard to set up offices in the capital city.
  • “I am delighted to announce our long-term commitment to the UAE and ADGM in particular,” Sawiris said in a statement. “The importance of the UAE to the worldwide financial ecosystem makes NNS believe the transition of its key activities to the UAE will contribute to the further development and growth of its portfolio and core activities.”
    • Sawiris will continue to be executive chairman of NNS Group following the re-domiciliation.


North Africa's richest billionaire relocates family office to Abu Dhabi

  • [Hook]
  • In a move reflecting a broader trend among the world’s wealthiest individuals, Nassef Sawiris, Egypt and North Africa’s richest person, has announced his intention to relocate his family office to Abu Dhabi — the capital city of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
    • His decision aligns with a growing wave of billionaires relocating their operations to the UAE. According to the UBS Billionaire Ambitions Report 2023, five billionaires have chosen the UAE as their base this year — with the recent move by Sawiris, the figure now stands at six.
  • Sawiris, with a fortune of $7.65 billion derived from his stake in OCI N.V. a global nitrogen product manufacturer and shares in German sportswear giant Adidas, expressed his enthusiasm for the move, citing the UAE’s role in the global financial ecosystem. “I am delighted to announce our long-term commitment to the UAE and ADGM in particular,” he said. 
    • He emphasized the significance of the UAE’s contribution to the worldwide financial landscape, believing that the transition of key activities to the UAE would foster the further development and growth of his portfolio and core activities.
  • As Russia and Ukraine bleed private wealth, UAE emerges as global magnet for millionaires and billionaires
    • As private capital exits Russia and Ukraine and the UK loses its status as a wealth hub, the UAE remains resilient. The nation closed 2022 as the top destination for migrating millionaires and has strengthened its position in 2023. Its allure is emphasized by its second-place ranking for billionaires in the MEA region, trailing only Israel.
    • Pending regulatory approval, Sawiris plans to redomicile his private investment company, NNS Group, in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the city-state’s international financial center. From this strategic location, NNS Group aims to build substantial stakes in a select number of companies, focusing primarily on Europe, the Middle East, and North America.
  • Sawiris’ decision to relocate his family office comes amid a surge in his net worth, which increased by $623 million in 2023 alone, solidifying his standing among the world’s wealthiest individuals.
    • The move also coincides with Fertiglobe, a partnership between OCI N.V. (founded by Sawiris) and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, completing its listing in Abu Dhabi with an implied market capitalization of $5.8 billion in October 2021.
    • With a focus on exploring new opportunities in the Middle East, Africa, and beyond, Sawiris’ relocation of his family office to Abu Dhabi positions him strategically for future growth and investment in these regions.


Nigeria: Billionaire Family Scion Oppenheimer Takes Control of Top Can Maker

  • [Hook]
  •  Jonathan Oppenheimer, son of South African billionaire Nicky Oppenheimer, has acquired full control of Nigeria’s biggest beverage can-maker, betting on a revival in Africa’s largest economy.
    • Oppenheimer Partners Ltd. bought the shares it didn’t own in GZ Industries Ltd. from Affirma Capital, formerly known as Standard Chartered Private Equity, according to a statement from Affirma on Thursday, which didn’t disclose financial details. The private equity firm had a 37.5% stake in the supplier of cans to companies including Coca-Cola Co.
  • The acquisition is likely to help Oppenheimer, whose family founded mining giant Anglo American Plc and turned De Beers into the world’s largest diamond producer, shape GZI’s growth in sub-Saharan African. 
  • Urban, educated adults in the region consume 12.4 servings of sugary drinks per week — the highest in the world, according to a research published by Nature Communications.
    • Oppenheimer Partners first bought into the business in 2018, when GZI built a factory in South Africa, where it now has a market share of about 20%. It competes with the loss-making Nampak Ltd., which is selling assets and restructuring debt. Affirma first invested in GZI in 2012.
  • Nigerian President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday outlined his government’s 2024 spending plans projected at 27.5 trillion naira ($34 billion), aiming to “achieve job-rich economic growth, macro-economic stability, a better investment environment.”
    • Affirma has invested in 11 companies in Africa since 2008, and has completed exits from eight, returning more than $800 million to investors over the period.
    • The Oppenheimer family has a combined net worth of $9.4 billion, largely through the 2012 sale of their stake in De Beers for about $5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.


Villas by the sea: Rich Russians fleeing sanctions are pumping up Dubai's property sector 

  • [no section title]
  • The team at Dubai property firm Mira Estate have reason to celebrate. 
    • The luxury real estate company just clocked a 100% year-on-year increase in sales to buyers from Russia and other former Soviet states in the first half of 2022.
  • Property sales to these nationals for the firm, which specializes in Russian-speaking clients, doubled year on year to 2 billion dirhams, or $500 million, according to a company press release issued this week. 
  • In a swanky Dubai nightclub in May, Russian real estate agents from another brokerage popped bottles of champagne to celebrate making record commissions on sales to fellow citizens buying their first homes in the desert oasis. 
    • One saleswoman raked in 4 million dirhams in commission in just three months, according to her colleague, who spoke to CNBC anonymously in light of professional restrictions. 
  • And billionaire oligarch Roman Abramovich, former owner of Chelsea football club and longtime associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, is reportedly house-hunting on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, the iconic man-made archipelago of artificial islands designed to look like a palm tree. 
    • The tycoon’s private jet, worth $350 million, has been grounded in the emirate for some four months after the U.S. Justice Department authorized its seizure.
  • The influx of buyers from Russia — as well as from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a group of nine former Soviet countries spanning Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia — has pumped up the United Arab Emirates’ property sector in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent Western sanctions. 
    • While numerous countries imposed sanctions and asset seizures on wealthy Russians and figures linked to Putin, causing many to lose their multimillion dollar properties in cities like London and Paris, the UAE has remained open for business.
  • “The war in Ukraine and the impact of sanctions on Russian-speaking individuals and their establishments have led wealthy CIS investors to flee their countries and find a haven in Dubai,” Mira Estate CEO Tamara Getigezheva said in her company’s release.
    • “CIS billionaires and entrepreneurs have been flocking to the UAE in record numbers, leading to a surge in demand for real estate. Most homebuyers are looking for ready units and waterfront properties.”
  • Indeed, Dubai is seeing its hottest real estate market in years, with sales in the sector up 45% year on year in April and 51% in May, according to the Dubai Land Department.
    • Following a steep dive at the start of the pandemic, the UAE’s glitzy commercial hub saw a steady recovery after it adopted a more relaxed approach to the Covid-19 pandemic as other markets were still imposing heavy restrictions. The UAE opened up new visa opportunities for long-term residents and remote workers, signed a historic normalization deal with Israel, liberalized some of its social rules, and switched from its Islamic Friday-Saturday weekend to the Saturday-Sunday one.  
  • But the decision to stay neutral as much of the wealthy world shut its doors to Russians following Putin’s brutal invasion of its neighbor in late February has paid off particularly well for the UAE, whose 90% expat population, tax haven status and reputation for financial secrecy make it highly attractive to many of the world’s high-net-worth individuals.
  • Dubai brokerage Betterhomes, in a ranking released in April, found that Russians moved up two places to become the fifth-top buyers of Dubai properties in the first quarter. 
    • And London-based citizenship-by-investment firm Henley & Partners in June released a report projecting that the UAE will be the world’s top destination for the ultra-wealthy this year, forecasting that it will receive 4,000 new millionaires. 
  • [no section title]
  • Russia, meanwhile, is set to lose 15,000 millionaires, according to the firm’s research. 
    • “Roots in the UAE are now becoming a must-have asset in every high-net-worth investor’s portfolio,” Philippe Amarante, a managing partner at Henley & Partners, wrote in the report. 
  • Misha Glenny, journalist and author of the book “McMafia,” wrote in a post for Henley & Partners: “The UAE has experienced soaring rates of high-net-worth migration, primarily into Abu Dhabi and Dubai.” 
    • “Affluent Russians seeking to escape the impact of the devastating Western sanctions on their country have started to move to the UAE and to Israel,” Glenny added, the latter of which is fourth on the firm’s destinations list. 
  • [Life In Dubai]
  • There’s also a clear trend as to what kind of properties Russian buyers go for, those who work in the business say.
    • “Mostly luxury properties, especially anything around the sea,” Tahir Majithia, managing partner at Dubai-based Prime Capital real estate, told CNBC. He named sought-after areas like the Palm Jumeirah, as well as the upscale Emaar Beachfront and La Mer properties along the city’s coast. 
    • “Anything near the water with a good view, that is always their first preference.″
    • Buyers seek a mix of properties to hold and rent as investments as well as for personal use, though most are for investment, Majithia said. “Block deals,” in which a buyer will purchase a whole floor or several, are very common. One floor of a luxury apartment building will cost between roughly $7 million and $10 million on average, he said, though this of course varies with location and size.
  • [no section title]
  • Russians were always among the top 10 nationalities investing in Dubai property, Majithia said. But there’s been a spike since February, he noted, adding that “something we also noticed was some of these buyers were also liquidating their assets in other countries and moving those funds over here.”
    • Many Russian buyers also make their purchases in cryptocurrency, he said, as several of Dubai’s major property firms have started accepting digital currency payments.
  • [conclusion]
  • Anti-corruption activists and lawmakers accuse Dubai of being a hub for dirty money. Kremlin critic Bill Browder has called for the emirate to be put on a financial blacklist, and a group of members of the European Parliament in May accused the UAE of facilitating “money laundering at a grand scale,” calling on it to sanction Russian oligarchs who’ve moved there.
    • The Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental anti-money laundering watchdog, in March placed the UAE on its “gray list” over concerns that the Gulf country had “strategic deficiencies” in stemming illegal financial activities.
    • In response, the Emirati body tasked with countering illegal financial activities told CNBC that the UAE “has a stringent framework in place to counter illicit finance and implement targeted financial sanctions. Effective measures are targeting a range of financial crime risks and typologies, including in the real estate sector.”
  • A number of government ministries have “outlined specific regulatory requirements with which the sector must comply in order to counter money laundering and terrorist financing and ensure that applicable local and international sanctions regimes are implemented,” a statement from the UAE’s Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering/Countering the Financing of Terrorism read.
    • The country aims to provide a stable business environment for investors from around the world, it said, “while mitigating the risks of illicit financial flows from entering the country and protecting the integrity of the financial system.”
  • “I’m sure a lot of Russians are trying to fix their problems and their issues, but Dubai will benefit ultimately from any crisis,” Emirati property magnate Hussain Sajwani told CNBC in an interview in mid-March.
    • “I’ll be honest with you, these sanctions … they made a lot of people nervous,” Sajwani said at the time. “If anyone brings money through the banking system here legally and professionally, we’ll do business with them.”


Russian Oligarchs Fleeing Sanctions Are House Hunting In Dubai 

  • As millions of Ukrainian refugees flee their war-torn country to Poland and western Europe, Russian oligarchs are fleeing—via their luxury yachts and private jets—to a different location: Dubai.
    • Displaced by sanctions and unwelcome in the West, Russian billionaires are on the hunt for luxury properties in Dubai, lured by the Emirate’s glitzy beaches, flexible visa program and pledged neutrality on Ukraine, according to several Dubai-based real estate brokers who have shown properties to representatives of Russian billionaires.
    • “We are getting increasing requests from Russian oligarchs,” says Şerif Nadi Varlı, the lead real estate broker at Vartur Real Estate, which has offices in Dubai and Turkey, another top destination for wealthy Russians looking to escape sanctions. “Those kinds of people are looking for bigger investments, they're scared to keep their assets in European countries.”
    • “We have seen some interest from oligarchs, not just in buying property in Dubai, but fully residing in Dubai,” says another broker, who asked to remain anonymous for concerns of breaking confidentiality agreements. A third Dubai-based real estate executive (who also asked to remain anonymous) says their firm has worked with “multiple” Russian billionaires scouting for homes.
  • [Hook]
  • The oligarchs will be in familiar company. 
    • At least three Russian billionaires and one recent dropoff already own properties in the emirate city-state, according to data provided by the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Advanced Defense Studies. 
    • Fertilizer tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev owns a $29.5 million property on Palm Jumeirah, a luxury archipelago of artificial islands shaped like a palm tree. His ultra-wealthy neighbors in the islands include Albert Avdolyan and his wife Elena—who own two properties worth a combined $19 million—and Andrei Molchanov, who owns a $26.5 million home. (Molchanov dropped off Forbes World’s Billionaires list in 2022.) Pavel Durov, the 37-year-old founder of messaging app Telegram, also lives there.
  • [no section title]
  • Dubai’s newest would-be residents seem to be shopping in a pricier market: the most expensive property offered by Nadi Varlı’s Vartur, also in Palm Jumeirah, has an asking price of $68 million. 
    • “In the super luxury segment, we’ve seen crazy, crazy transactions. Like prices you’ve never seen before,” says Alexander von Sayn-Wittgenstein, CEO of boutique brokerage LUXCAPITAL, which facilitated a $76 million home purchase–again in Palm Jumeirah–earlier this week.
  • [Life in Dubai]
  • The brokers who spoke to Forbes identified several neighborhoods, in addition to the famous Palm Jumeirah, that are popular with wealthy Russian buyers. Jumeirah Bay, a six-million-square-foot manmade island, where villas fetch up to $30 million, is near the top of the list. 
    • Other common destinations include Emaar Beachfront, whose luxury high-rise apartment buildings look out on Dubai Harbour, and Emaar Beachfront, home to the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, and the world’s second-largest shopping mall, The Dubai Mall. The Dubai Marina, which includes the commercial and tourist-friendly beachfront La Mer and the luxury waterfront development Jumeirah Beach Residence, is also a hit.
  • [no section title]
  • “These big name [developers] in Dubai are telling [me] that Russians are buying enormously,” says Nadi Varlı, who mentioned Emaar Properties—the developer behind Emaar Beachfront and the Burj Khalifa—among the firms fielding requests from wealthy Russians.
    • Russians moving to Dubai may be looking to take advantage of the United Arab Emirates’ “golden visa” program, which provides long-term residency for foreigners if they invest at least 10 million dirhams ($2.7 million) in a local company or investment fund. The U.A.E liberalized its visa program in early 2021 to encourage “investors, professionals, special talents and their families” to relocate to Dubai. 
    • It also introduced a citizenship by investment scheme in January 2021 that allows foreigners to acquire Emirati citizenship through investment in “property,” but it’s still unclear how much would-be citizens need to invest to obtain it, and what kinds of property are included.
  • “It’s effectively a lifetime residency that you get granted by the Dubai government [and] it’s very affordable for many of these affluent Russians,” says Abdullah Alajaji, CEO of Dubai real estate brokerage Driven Properties. Alajaji’s company recorded a 71% increase in the net value of properties purchased by Russians during the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period last year. “A lot of the individuals we’ve worked with were domiciled in London and Luxembourg and Switzerland and Israel, and are now looking to set up shop in Dubai,” says Alajaji, “whether it’s for their own business, [or] moving their families and making a decision to reside in Dubai.”
  • In recent weeks, several yachts owned by Russian oligarchs have made their way to Dubai’s harbor. 
    • The Madame Gu superyacht, owned by sanctioned steel oligarch and Duma member Andrei Skoch and valued at $156 million by yacht valuation experts VesselsValue, was last seen in Dubai in early March. The 290-foot superyacht Nirvana, belonging to unsanctioned nickel magnate Vladimir Potanin, and the $82 million Titan, owned by steel tycoon Alexander Abramov, are currently moored in Mina Rashid, a manmade cruise terminal in the northern part of the city. The two superyachts are moored right next to each other, according to data from vessel tracking service MarineTraffic. Two other oligarch-owned yachts, Anatoly Lomakin’s $58 million Sea & Us and Anatoly Sedykh’s $73 million Hermitage, were also last seen in Dubai in March and April.
  • Besides their superyachts, oligarchs are also taking their private planes to the Emirates. Forbes found four jets linked to sanctioned Russian billionaires—including Abramovich, Arkady Rotenberg, Viktor Rashnikov and Mikhail Gutseriev—that were last tracked in Dubai or Abu Dhabi in February and March. Abramovich’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, registered in Aruba with tail number P4-BDL, was last seen in Dubai on March 4 after flying there from Moscow. 
    • The three jets that were last recorded in Dubai flew to Dubai World Central (DWC), the city-state’s newest airport and an alternative to Dubai International, where the vast majority of scheduled flights land. Called the “airport of the future” by state-owned Dubai Airports, DWC is still being completed and the only passenger flights it currently receives appear to be seasonal charters offered by four Russian airlines from a variety of Russian cities.
  • It’s not just Russia’s billionaires who are flocking to Dubai shores, as the merely wealthy—banned from traveling to Europe—scoop up apartments. 
    • The number of Russians who own properties in Dubai soared in March, driven by activity in the $250,000 to $500,000 price range, according to data from Dubai real estate firm Metropolitan Premium Properties cited in several Russian news outlets. (Metropolitan Premium Properties did not respond to Forbes’ request for comment). Demand is driving up prices, and frustrating some buyers: Ellada Gasanova, a popular Russian fashion designer, complained on Instagram about Dubai’s pricey real estate market, according to local Russian media reports. (Rest assured: Gasanova reportedly found herself an apartment).
    • For Dubai locals, the recent surge in Russian buyers is not surprising, given Russia’s history of investment in the Emirate. “The Dubai real estate market has always been a success with Russian investors as they were always amongst the top investors in the U.A.E.,” says Hamid Jaafri, CEO of One Investments, a property investment company. “Dubai has historically benefitted from geopolitical instability due to its safe haven status and undoubtedly the [Russia-Ukraine] crisis will benefit Dubai.”
  • The U.A.E. has not been shy in its refusal to back Western sanctions against Russia. 
    • It was one of only three countries, along with China and India, to abstain in a United Nations Security Council vote on February 25 to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine; it also abstained in a General Assembly vote on April 7 to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council. On March 4, the Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based financial crime watchdog, placed the U.A.E. on its “grey list” of jurisdictions under increased monitoring.
  • The U.A.E.’s financial ties to Russia run deep. 
    • Mubadala Investment Corporation, the U.A.E.'s sovereign investment fund, has invested $3.6 billion in 50 Russian companies as of 2022. At least two of those investments, worth nearly $400 million, are tied to sanctioned Russian billionaires: In December, Mubadala acquired a 1.9% stake in petrochemicals giant Sibur, part-owned by sanctioned oligarchs Leonid Mikhelson, a billionaire, and Gennady Timchenko. Forbes estimates that stake is now worth roughly $220 million, down from about $500 million at the time of the purchase, due to the impact of sanctions on the ruble. 
    • In June, Mubadala spent $175 million to purchase 2.6% of En+ Group, a publicly traded aluminum firm whose largest shareholder is sanctioned billionaire Oleg Deripaska. That brought Mubadala’s stake in En+ Group up to 2.86%, now worth about $170 million as the company’s stock has dipped.
      • At an investment conference in Dubai on March 28, Mubadala CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak said the fund would “pause investment” in Russia. Still, the influx of Russian oligarchs in search of luxury homes shows that the Emirates are still welcoming investment from Moscow’s richest.


Why Is The City Of Dubai So Rich? 

  • [no section title]
  • Oil was discovered in Dubai just over 50 years ago, but only accounts for one percent of its earnings. So, what makes the city of Dubai so rich?
    • From the 1770s up until the late 1930s, the pearl industry was the main source of income in the Trucial States, which today make up the United Arab Emirates. For residents of the sleepy fishing villages of the Persian Gulf, pearl diving was their humble beginning in trade, but it set the scene for something much larger later on.
  • Dubai and Abu Dhabi clashed over their borders in the search for oil in the late 1950s, leading to many people moving out of Dubai to other places in the Gulf as the city struggled and Abu Dhabi thrived. 
    • In 1958, the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, started investing in infrastructure and completed its first airport in 1960 thanks to loans amounting to tens of billions of dollars.
  • Dubai began shipping oil in 1969 before gaining independence from Great Britain in 1971, when it became one of the UAE’s seven emirates.
  • As part of Emirates, but with relative independence over its economy, Dubai continued to diversify its revenue stream throughout the 1980s in order to compete with Abu Dhabi’s growing profit from the oil industry.
    • The city established its first free zone in 1985: Jafza, the Jebel Ali Free Zone, which at 52 sqkm (20 sqmi) is the largest in the world.
    • This became a big attraction for global businesses, which today take advantage of the emirate’s 30 free zones that offer tax breaks, custom duty benefits and lack of restrictions for foreign owners.
  • The UAE is the third-richest country in the world, below Luxembourg at number two and Qatar at number one, with a GDP per capita of $57,744. The bulk of its money comes from the production of goods and provision of services related to petroleum, petrochemicals, aluminium and cement.


The Real Reason Millionaires Move to Dubai (Not Taxes)


00:02 : 📌The reason why rich people move to Dubai isn't just the taxes, its networking because its where all the other billionaires live 

00:41 : 📌Types of rich people that move to Dubai

01:04 : 📌Dubai is the best city to network in the world, there are different crypto events, online marketing events, investor events, conferences, etc etc. All the business opportunities in the world are right outside your door 

01:53 : 📌dubai also attracts 'open-minded people' not those who follow exactly what their govns are saying 

02:18 : 📌"I still see it being the city of the future, the city where everybody goes to network, build their business, to improve their capitalism  

02:41 : 📌Taxes and restrictions in America 

02:55 : 📌Clip: "In Dubai, the government takes nothing. Open your business, hire as many people as you want,open an office wherever and no permit is needed for most things. It's only one license and you open the business and start making millions of dollars and that's why the rich are moving to dubai" 


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