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Financial Licensing in UAE | DFSA Authorisation | DIFC Licensing

January 6, 2022by Chinwe Azikiwe

Financial Licensing in UAE | DFSA Authorisation | DIFC Licensing

The DIFC is one of the two main onshore financial centers within the UAE where Financial Companies are set up, alongside a dedicated financial services regulator, the DFSA, which is responsible for regulating the financial services companies’ activities in the DIFC. All financial companies operating from the DIFC must comply with the regulatory and licensing requirements imposed by the DFSA and DIFC.

In order to conduct Financial Services in or from the DIFC, firms need to become authorised and obtain a licence from the DFSA. To conduct a Designated Non-Financial Business or Profession in or from the DIFC, firms need to be registered by the DFSA. As a risk-based regulator, the DFSA conducts initial assessments to ensure DFSA regulated firms adhere to the DFSA’s standards of conduct and business.

In order to conduct Financial Services in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre, individuals or entities require authorisation from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). This authorisation is given in the form of an In-Principle Approval (IPA) which details the Financial Services that can be conducted in the DFSA regulated firms.

Before the DFSA authorises a firm the firm needs to satisfy the regulatory requirements and has to be able to continue to do so consistently and competently in order to maintain the license. The  DFSA clearly outlines the authorisation requirements for applicants including the requirement to satisfy the DFSA that it is fit and proper to hold a license, and provides
guidance for applicants on the matters taken into consideration when assessing the fitness and properness of an applicant.

The matters are likely to include but are not limited to:

• Business model and business strategy;
• Corporate Governance;
• Senior management;
• Ownership and Group structure;
• Financial and operational resources; and
• Conduct of business and money laundering risks.

Our corporate advisory team provides DFSA 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
– Payment Service Providers
– Representative Offices/Branches of foreign financial service companies

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
How Can We Support In Obtaining DFSA Authorisation?

It is important for potential applicants interested in setting up a Financial Company in DIFC to choose the correct license 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. We will also help manage your relationship with the DFSA and DIFC Authority by attending all meetings and overseeing all correspondence. If you wish to discuss how we can assist you in setting up a financial company in the DIFC and obtaining DFSA authorisation,  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.

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Chinwe Azikiwe

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