Wincore Advisory Group’s structuring team will advise you on the best structuring to establish your UAE presence, establish your branch or representative office, set up your ADGM Financial Company whilst assisting you in fulfilling all regulatory licensing with ROC (Registrar of Companies), DED (Department of Economic Development), Freezone authority and the Regulatory authorities.

ADGM Financial Licensing

Financial Licenses can be obtained in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), which is one of the two Financial Free Zones within the UAE. At the heart of the ADGM model is an independent risk-based regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), which grants licenses and regulates the activities of all banking and financial institutions in ADGM. The ADGM is a broadly based recognized and renowned international financial center serving local, regional and international institutions, and grants permission for different categories of Financial Licensing in ADGM.

Financial Licensing DIFC | difc company setup | difc Licensing

Merits of establishing a branch or representative office in ADGM freezone

Representative Office –

Representative Offices are usually the most cost-effective The major difference with representative offices is that their business activities are limited to promoting and sourcing work for the parent company. Representative Offices are not allowed to make a profit in the UAE and must outsource all work back to the parent company.

ADGM Representative Offices

Branch Company –

The parent company remains its sole owner. As such, there is no share capital required to open a branch office. The branch company also uses the parent’s articles of incorporation.

Regulated Financial Entities ADGM

Wincore provides strategic assistance and coordination services on establishing regulated and non-regulated company formation in ADGM.

Our team of senior level compliance and legal advisors, combined with sophisticated corporate service expertise, we can provide the highest quality advisory and set up services for regulated and unregulated set-ups, at competitive cost and within an efficient and respected processing timeline. The key to the success of a timely ADGM company setup, 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.

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

ADGM Authorities:

The ADGM Free Zone has three independent authorities:

  • The Registration Authority is responsible for the registration, incorporation and licensing of legal entities in ADGM and supports with 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 centres and 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 modelled 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.
  • Dispute Resolution Authority (ADGM Courts and Arbitration Institution)

Reasons for setting up a company in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

  • 100% foreign ownership
  • 0% corporate tax for 50 years
  • 0% import or re-export customs duties instead of 4% mainland
  • 0% personal income tax
  • 5% VAT only
  • design 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

Establishment Procedure of ADGM Regulated Financial Institutions

1. Application stating the requested regulated activity (ies) and related category of license must be submitted to the respective regulatory authority which will consider the suitability of the applicant:

  • The FSRA and ADGM Registry Authority for ADGM.

2. Presentation to the authorization team and regulators, during an introductory meeting, of the draft regulatory business plan.
3. Compliance review of the application documents and Submission of the full application with its regulatory business plan upon the acceptance of the draft regulatory business plan.
4. All regulatory requirements attached to the requested category of the ADGM Financial license must be met before the incorporation is granted.
5. Issuance of an In-Principal Approval letter by the Regulator to the applicant upon satisfactory completion of their senior management’s due diligence and essential points of the application.Incorporation of the entity upon fulfilling the incorporation requirements of the Registration Authority.
6. Grant of financial services permission upon all conditions of the In-Principal Approval are met.

Financial Licensing in ADGM

Categories of financial licensing in ADGM
First degree of structuring – More confidential and sophisticated
structuring are possible.

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Towers Mazaya Business
Avenue, JLT, Dubai, UAE
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+971 4 221 2602
+971 55 138 9591

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