In 2004 the United Arab Emirates along with the Emirate of Dubai established a federal financial free zone called the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). This financial centre operates under its own separate legal system with jurisdiction over corporate, civil, employment securities, trusts and commercial matters. The intent was the formation of a common platform for financial institutions in the region. The free zone strives to maintain an environment promoting growth, progress and economic development. The legal and business infrastructure is configured to meet international standards. The regulations are written in English and default to English law in cases where the regulations do not provide a specific solution. UAE laws concerning criminal law and immigration still apply.
The legal structure is consistent with English Common Law. This is unique in the region. The DIFC courts have exclusive jurisdiction over civil and commercial disputes among companies registered in the Financial Centre. Many world organizations either operate under English Common Law standards or have structures based on English law. Using this legal system makes the free zone very attractive to international businesses.
DIFC is completely tax free for businesses operating within its borders. The unique financial services cluster includes banking services, capital markets, asset management, fund registration, reinsurance, Islamic finance, and back office operations. This clustering of related businesses promotes networking, collaboration, cooperation and joint business ventures. Business providing services to financial organizations are close at hand, therefore extremely responsive to client needs. The business towers in the free zone make use of modern communication technology in an infrastructure designed around the needs of financial organizations. DIFC has a fully electronic trading exchange yielding a functional and cost-effective locality for operations. London, Hong Kong, and New York now have a new member of the global financial club. In September 2005, Dubai International Financial Exchange (DIFX), opened in the DIFC. It has since been re-branded as NASDAQ Dubai.
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has authority over asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services; commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, international equities exchange and international derivatives exchange. The authority also performs anti-money-laundering, counter-terrorist-financing and sanctions compliance. DFSA is the sole independent financial services regulator for the DIFC and performs these functions: Policy and Rule making, Authorization, Recognition, Supervision, Enforcement, and International Co-operation.
Some of the services available to DIFC Customers:
• Commercial property leasing
• Specialized information and communication services
• Independent arbitration center and legal system
• Technical support and management
• Assistance services and safety advice
• Assistance with visas and work permits
• Help with driving licenses, alcohol licenses and public documents
Benefits of doing business in Dubai International Financial Centre
DIFC offers many advantages to businesses operating within its borders:
• The Centre provides access to regional investment and wealth opportunities
• Businesses in the centre may be 100% foreign owned – no local partner or sponsor is required
• No taxes on profits and income for fifty years
• Double taxation treaties in place for UAE incorporated entities – You will not pay taxes twice on the same assets.
• Easy capital convertibility – no exchange controls
• Laws, rules and regulations administered to the highest international standards
• The business legal environment is based on English Common Law
• The business environment is transparent – complying with global best practices and internationally accepted laws and regulations
• A wide variety of legal vehicles offer capital structuring flexibility.
• Dubai and vicinity has a large pool of skilled financial professionals
• The zone has modern infrastructure supporting transport, communications and internet services
• Easy access to government agencies for visas, work permits and other requirements
• The common law financial justice system is independent of UAE legal system
• Dollar dominated environment
• International stock exchange with primary and secondary listings including debt and equity instruments
How to form a business in Dubai International Financial Centre
When setting up a business in Dubai International Financial Centre you will be dealing with two different authorities. The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is responsible for the financial regulations involved in doing business in the Centre. The Registrar of Companies is responsible for incorporation, registration and dissolution of business entities in DIFC. In addition, the Registrar of Companies stores required information about businesses operating in the centre and makes this information available to the public according to applicable Companies Law (General Partnership Law, Limited Liability Partnerships Law, or Limited Partnerships Law ). The registrar of Companies reviews and acts on all applications for business formation.
DIFC offers business licenses in: Banking (commercial, investment, trade, export, finance and infrastructure project, banks correspondence and storage services), insurance and reinsurance, and assets wealth management (personal assets and investors’ investment funds). There are also licenses for capital markets (underwriting, mergers and purchasing advice, venture capital, private equity, private banking, commercial financing, brokerage) and professional services (legal, accounting, audit, advisory, risk management, employment, research and data retrieval).
Required documents for business registration in Dubai International Financial Centre:
• You must have proof of trade name registration. A list of at least three trade name options is presented to the Authority and one of the options is approved. Our firm (Push Digits*) can get this done for you.
• Before you can start the application process you must get prior approval for application activities. We* can do this for you.
• A completed application form. We* will get the form and help you complete it.
• Shareholders must provide passport copies
• The designated manager must provide a passport copy and a C.V. (resume)
• A Personal Information Sheet is required for each shareholder. We* can provide a template.
• You must lease appropriate space for your business and provide proof of the lease. This establishes a physical address for your business. We* can help you find and lease the required space.
• If a local agent is used (our firm*) the agent must have a notarized power of attorney. We* can provide a template.
• Some business activities require additional pre-approval from separate authorities (I.E.: Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)). We* can help with this paperwork.
• Some additional documents may be required at the time of registration.
• If the applicant is a corporate entity, these additional documents are required:
• A Memorandum of Association or Article of Association for the corporate entity. This must be attested by the UAE Embassy in the country of origin
• A resolution from the board of directors of the applicant company indicating the intent to establish a new business abroad. This must be attested by the UAE Embassy in the country of origin
• A current certificate of registration (or equivalent) from the registrar of companies or other business registration authority in the origin country. This must be attested by the UAE Embassy in the country of origin
* Push Digits is an independent partnership originally formed in the UAE to provide industry leading business setup, accounting and book keeping services.
We can help you set up your business in Dubai International Financial Centre
Push Digits has a staff of experienced, professionally qualified and chartered accountants with up to date accounting knowledge of international standards. We are well versed in the use of advanced technologies and accounting software. We maintain the highest quality standards and deliver full satisfaction of our clients by providing our unique services at amazingly affordable and cost competitive prices. In all our day to day activities we work to ensure our clients are contented with the services we provide and they derive value from them.
In addition to our complete company formation assistance we provide these services after your new business is operating:
• Complete accounting services with highest quality standards at affordable prices per month (full or part time)
• Financial services on an hourly basis
• Financial projections based on our in-depth financial accounting and analytical skills
• Feasibility studies for new businesses or new expansion
• Internal audits
• External audit preparation
• and many more