Obtaining DIFC Category 1 License | DFSA Category 1 Financial Licensing

June 21, 2021by Mohammed Rahali

Obtaining DIFC Category 1 License | DFSA Category 1 Financial Licensing

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTER [DIFC] is a broadly based recognized and renowned international financial center serving local, regional and international institutions. The DIFC serves in the obtainment of Financial License Categories 1, 2, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4 & 5.



A DIFC Category 1 Financial License is an Authorised Firm that is licensed to carry out the Financial Service of Accepting Deposits or Managing a Profit Sharing Investment Account (received on an unrestricted basis). The Authorised Firm under this category may be authorised to conduct other Financial Services, but its authorisation for Accepting Deposits and/or Managing a Profit Sharing Investment Account is what determines it as a Category 1 Authorised Firm, rather than another. A Category 1 firm may apply for an Islamic Window to conduct certain aspects of its business in a Sharia-compliant manner.

Base Capital – US$ 10,000,000.

Risk-based Capital minimum based on the totality of risks – CET1, 6%; Tier 1, 8%.

Capital Requirement is not applicable to a Branch set-up of the existing regulated bank.

Capital Plan must be captured in Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process Report.

Note that additional capital requirements may be imposed by DFSA on the review of the application. 



Directors (at least 2, preferably 3-4) – can be outsourced (NEDs).

Senior Executive Officer (SEO) – In-house, UAE resident (can be a Director).

Risk Officer (RO) – can be outsourced.

Finance Officer (FO) – can be outsourced (can also be an Executive Director/Senior Manager).

Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO) – can be outsourced, UAE resident (can be a CO).

Compliance Officer (CO) – can be outsourced, UAE resident (can be an MLRO).



  • Introduction to the Regulator
  • Draft of Regulatory Business Plan (RBP) (Application Forms, Business flow processes & charts)
  • Preparation of Financial model for 3 years and draft of ICAAP and IRAP report.
  • Preparation of policies and manuals (Compliance, AML, Risk Management, Remuneration, Governance, Conflicts of Interests, Business Continuity Plan etc.)

AUT – CORE this form must be submitted by all applicants applying for a license to carry out one or more financial services in or from DIFC. It covers information on the applicant, its activities, prospective clients and controllers;

AUT – IND this form must be submitted by the individuals holding a mandatory function including directors, senior executive officer, finance officer, compliance officer and money laundering reporting officer; and

AUT-AMS this form must be submitted by applicants applying to conduct financial services relating to arranging credit or deals in investment. The applicant will be required to submit this form as one of the Proposed Activities of DIFC CO includes arranging credits and deals in investment.

  • Draft of regulatory application for the company and individuals
  • Submission of Regulatory Application (with Policies and appointment of SEO, FO, MLRO, RO, CO)
  • Provision of full-time functions

SEO – Senior Executive Officer

FO – Finance Officer

RO – Risk Officer

MLRO – Money Laundering Reporting Officer

CO – Compliance Officer Initiation of the entity incorporation process

  • Office lease
  • Introduction to the UAE Bank for opening an Account
  • Issuance of Regulator’s financial services license


Wincore Advisory Group helps businesses to articulate their objectives and aspirations to set up DIFC Category 1 Financial Licence. Contact us at [email protected]  or +971 4 221 2602.




Mohammed Rahali

Managing Partner

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