The DFSA is the regulator for the Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), while Esca regulates the Dubai Financial Market and the Abu Dhabi Securities Market.

The two bodies are due to sign a memorandum of understanding in the first quarter of 2008 which will be the first step towards allowing companies to list on both the DIFX and another local market.

Local companies have been able to list on the DIFX since October, following changes to the law governing financial free zones. They need to set up a holding company in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which hosts the DIFX. That firm’s shares are then listed. Previously local companies were barred from listing on the offshore DIFX.

The change will allow port operator DP World to proceed with its listing on the DIFX at the end of November. A series of other Dubai companies are expected to follow with listings on the DIFX. However, the markets are likely to appeal to different types of companies and investors. ‘The global investors will go for the DIFX and the local and regional will go for the DFM,’ says a Dubai-based banker.