Dubai International Financial Centre | A Gateway to Growth

by Zaara 23, Jul 2018

Dubai International Financial Centre Free Zone

Finance is one of the most important aspects when it comes to the development of an economy and is considered to be the lifeline of any business. Be it establishing a company’s roots or expanding a well-settled firm, finance plays a crucial role. United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of 7 emirates. Dubai, one of the liveliest cities in the world, and the second largest emirate of UAE have become a center of foreign investment. Not just this, Dubai free zones are also the most sought after jurisdiction for establishing a business. At the heart of this development lies the free zone dedicated to all things pecuniary and financial, Dubai International Financial Centre.

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC)

Established in the year 2004, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) free zone is considered as one of the world’s top ten financial centers and covers the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. The independent regulation, tax-friendly regime and common law framework system increases demand for business and financial services. Currently, 1853+ registered companies operate from the center. It is a setup in the UAE’s premier financial free zone, which becomes a magnetic factor to pull foreign investors. DIFC is based in a region that captures 3 of the 5 fastest growing markets, namely, India, MENA, and Sub-Saharan Africa. It holds the core values of integrity, transparency, and efficiency that helps to meet the growing financial needs in the region. DIFC Client Portal is a catalyst that helps DIFC to access the government services.

Benefits of DIFC Company Formation

DIFC free zone provides the following advantages to its investors:

  1. Simple regulatory environment
  2. Unique Legal Framework
  3. 100% ownership
  4. Common law framework
  5. No restriction on capital repatriation
  6. Exemption from corporate tax
  7. A hub-and-spoke system to manage operations at a global level
  8. The center acts as a single point of contact managing the following:
  • The judicial system and arbitration
  • Long-term commercial property ownership
  • Specialized technology and communication network
  • Obtaining residential permits, driving license, alcohol license and other govt. services
  1. Easy company registration process
  2. One-stop center for visa and work permit requirements

Business Sectors in DIFC

The finance sector is a large one. It holds multiple businesses in its umbrella. The different areas of business that can be formed in DIFC include:

  1. Banking and brokerage services
  2. Wealth management
  3. Reinsurance and Captive Insurance
  4. Islamic finance and Takaful
  5. Ancillary services
  6. Fintech
  7. Capital markets

Apart from the core business activities, the center also deals with community life-enhancing activities which include: Art and Culture, Education, Sustainability, Retail & Convenience, Cafés, and Restaurants.

Types of Business Entities in DIFC

The different types of businesses that can be established in DIFC are:

  1. Company Limited by Shares
  2. Limited Liability Company
  3. Branch of an Existing Foreign Company
  4. Transferred Company from Another Jurisdiction

Types of Office Spaces Provided in DIFC

DIFC provides various different space options to foreign investors, helping them to take the first move in the process of company formation in Dubai. These are:

  • Commercial Office Space
  • Business Centers
  • Retail Space
  • Data Centers
  • Gate Avenue
  • Event Spaces
  • Conference Center
  • Promotional Stands

Company Registration Process to Establish a Company in DIFC

Any investor planning to set up or establish their business entity in DIFC has to undergo the following company registration steps:

  1. Fill and submit the application form to the Registrar of Companies (ROC)
  2. Submit the documents called for by the ROC
  3. Once submitted, the registrar would issue the certificate of incorporation

Legal Centers under DIFC

DIFC holds three legal entities in its arena that deal with law practices, rules, and regulations. All the legal bodies are entitled to look into the matters of Consolation Papers, Archives, Legal Database, and Public Register.

1. Dubai International Financial Center Authority (DIFCA)

This center holds a framework that combines international standards and principles of common law. The body helps in regulating the matters of strategic development, operation, and administration of the DIFC.

2. Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)

This is another financial regulatory that looks into matters of special economic zones. The center looks into matters of asset and wealth management, Investment funds, publications, commodities trade and funding, international equity exchange, etc. The Dubai Financial Services Authority regulates 69 entities, 490 authorized firms, 121 designated non-financial businesses or professions (DNFBPs), 16 registered auditors and 2 authorized market institutions.

3. Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA)

Constituted to deliver counseling in legal matters in the Middle East in 2014, this is the third body of DIFC. It holds DIFC Courts, DIFC Arbitration Center, DIFC Wills Service Center, and Academy of Law. The divisions of DRA are tirelessly extending its support to execute Dubai Plan 2021, Dubai Expo 2020, and UAE Vision 2021 to shape the emirate as an eminent place to live, work and visit.

Industry Highlights

July 2018

  • Dubai to serve as a Regional Digital Financial Inclusion hub for the Middle East, South Africa, and Asia
  • Dubai partnerships with Oliver Wyman
  • Dubai ranked among the world’s top 10 financial centers
  • The number of financial institutions has partnered to 22
  • DIFC to hold Global Financial Forum on 11th March 2019
  • DIFC collaborates with France Finance Innovation to build FinTech

June 2018

  • DFSA signs a MoU with Astana Financial Service Authority

May 2018

  • DIFC signs an agreement with Accenture for further growth of FinTech Hive
  • DFSA expands FinTech Innovation Testing Programme
  • DIFC unveils the Exchange Building

It comes as no surprise that DIFC is on the way to establish itself as the number one financial center of the world. Apart from the financial front, it provides opportunities for foreign investors to set up their business in Dubai which is a well-established finance hub. Want to establish your business in this international financial free trade zone? To proceed ahead and to establish your company at an international level, all you need now is to contact a business consultant who can provide you the relevant business setup services in Dubai and also be your guide. Commitbiz Management Consultants can help you in dealing with the legal proceedings. Our business advisors will guide you throughout your company establishment journey and would look into the detailed matters of company formation in Dubai. To initiate the first step, do contact us. We would be glad to assist you and help you in building your business foundation.

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