Financial Company Setup in Dubai | Financial Company Setup in UAE

September 7, 2022by Mohammed Rahali

Financial Company Setup in Dubai | Financial Company Setup in UAE | Financial Licensing

There are two main onshore financial centers within the UAE where Financial Companies are set up, alongside several authorities responsible for regulating the financial services companies’ activities in the UAE. All financial companies operating in Dubai must comply with licensing requirements imposed by the Central Bank. Also, all financial companies set up within the onshore financial centers must adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the independent regulators, depending on the jurisdiction.

Our corporate advisory team provides authorisation and licensing support for the following setups:
– Digital Banks
– Investment Banks
– Investment Trusts
– Investment Funds
– Insurance Companies
– FinTech Firms
– Electronic Money Institution
– Authorised Payment Institution
– Crypto Assets Trading/ Crypto Exchange firms
– Representative Offices/Branches of foreign financial service companies

Wincore Advisory Group provides strategic assistance and coordination services centered on establishing regulated Financial Company Setups in Dubai. With our team of senior-level compliance and legal advisors, combined with sophisticated corporate service expertise, we can provide the highest quality advisory and Financial Company Set up services at competitive costs and within an efficient and respected processing timeline.

In parallel to the company set-up and in view to satisfy the In-Principle approval of the Regulatory authority, through its strategic partnerships, Wincore is able to provide a full range of services:

  • Outsourced Compliance Officer (CO) / Risk Officer (RO) / Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO)
  • Outsourced Accounting and Finance Officer
  • Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC) assessments
  • VAT advisory, registration, and implementation
  • CRS/FATCA assistance and implementation
  • Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBP) assistance
  • Assistance in respect of policies, procedures, and regulatory returns
  • Assurance subscription
  • Economic Substance Tests
  • Training

Financial Company Set up in DIFC

The Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) is one of the two main financial centers in the UAE, located in Dubai. The DIFC is a Financial Free Zone within the UAE with its own civil and commercial laws as well as its own financial services regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

The DIFC Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all civil and commercial disputes arising within DIFC and/ or relating to bodies and companies registered in DIFC. DIFC is has a legislative system consistent with English Common law, unlike mainland jurisdictions. DIFC has its own set of civil and commercial laws and regulations and has developed a specific code of laws governing financial services.

  • Dispute Resolution Authority (DIFC Courts and Arbitration Institution)
  • Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)
  • DIFC Registration Authority (DIFCA)

Applying for a Financial Company in the DIFC is quite straightforward, provided that all requirements are met by the applicant. The key to the success of a timely financial set up in DIFC is the professional drafting of the compliance and business plans within the General Information for Regulated Activities (GIRA), application for financial services permission, presented to the regulatory and /or registrar authorities.

Financial Company Set up in ADGM

The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) is a broad-based international financial center for local, regional and international institutions. ADGM operates as a Financial Free Zone within the UAE with its own civil and commercial laws as well as its own financial services regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA). A Financial Company Set up in ADGM is quite straightforward, provided that all requirements are met by the applicant.

The ADGM Free Zone has three independent authorities:

  • The ADGM Registration Authority (ADGM RA) is responsible for the registration, incorporation, and licensing of legal entities in ADGM and supports all government-related services.
  • The FSRA, which has two independent bodies (the Regulatory Committee and the Appeals Panel) is a signatory to 88 bilateral MoUs with foreign regulators and international financial centers and a member of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) & Basel Committee Consultative Group (BCG);. Financial services entities registered in ADGM need to meet specific obligations set out by the FSRA. These obligations are in addition to standard obligations that all ADGM registered entities are required to meet.
  • ADGM Courts and its judiciary are modeled on the English judicial system. The direct application of English common law (including the rules and principles of equity plus well-established English statutes on civil matters) makes ADGM the first jurisdiction in the Middle East to adopt a similar approach to that of Singapore and Hong Kong: The foundation of the civil and commercial law in ADGM is provided by the Application of English Law Regulations 2015. Their judgments and rulings are enforceable throughout the UAE. They do not have jurisdiction in criminal matters. Therefore references in the English Statutes to criminal offenses have been amended to breaches of the ADGM Courts Regulation or Rules and are punishable by a monetary fine.
  • The foundation of the civil and commercial law in ADGM is provided by the Application of English Law Regulations 2015. Those Regulations make English common law (including the rules and principles of equity) directly applicable in ADGM. In parallel, a wide range of English statutes on civil matters are also applicable in ADGM.

Benefits of Setting up a Financial Services Company in the DIFC or ADGM

  • Presence of Dispute Resolution Authority (DIFC Courts, ADGM Courts and Arbitration Institution)
  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 0% corporate tax
  • 0% import or re-export customs duties instead of 4% mainland
  • 0% personal income tax
  • 5% VAT only
  • Option for a tax-efficient transaction structuring;
  • No restriction on capital repatriation
  • No currency restrictions
  • No restriction on foreign talent or employees employment
  • US$ denominated economic environment
  • Responsive Authorities
How Can We Help in Setting Up a Financial Company in DIFC or ADGM?

It is important for investors interested in setting up a Financial Company in DIFC or ADGM to choose the correct licence and comply with the relevant regulatory requirements, and this is often challenging and confusing to navigate. Choosing our advisory services ensures that there is a smooth setup from start to finish. If you wish to discuss how we can assist you in setting up a financial company in the DIFC or ADGM, or any other legal entity, feel free to contact us.

For Support and assistance on this matter Get in touch with our Corporate Team Today. 

Wincore specializes in TaxEstateCorporate and Fiduciary matters. We provide pragmatic, flexible, and efficient solutions to individual entrepreneurs, startup businesses, foreign and local SMEs, multinationals, wealthy international families, HNWIs, and UHNWIs.


Mohammed Rahali

Managing Partner

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