DIFC introduces flexible regulatory regime for certain firms

Tags: Others

30 Jun, 2019

As published in Khaleej Times
Waheed Abbas/Dubai

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the largest financial centre in the region, has introduced a new cost-effective regime which will allow certain firms to establish in the financial free zone with more flexible office requirements.

Under a newly introduced regime, structures such as Intermediate Special Purpose Vehicles (ISPVs) and Special Purpose Companies (SPCs) will now be classified as Prescribed Companies which would make structuring and financing faster, economical and more flexible.

Citing an example for cost efficiency, Salmaan Jaffery, chief business development officer at DIFC Authority, said the annual licencing fee for Prescribed Companies has been reduced from $4,000 to $1,000.

“We are pretty confident that this is a pretty well-established benchmark that is so much flexibility. We have tried to provide clients an easy way to use structures whether for investing and managing assets,” he said.

The new regime was unveiled during a session with law firms and corporate service providers (CSPs) at DIFC to obtain market feedback on the legislative proposal, which is currently under public consultation.

The new Prescribed Companies regime covers firms that are either regulated by Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) or a recognised international financial services regulator.

As part of its enhancing its legal and regulatory framework, the DIFC Authority recently enacted new insolvency and employment laws.

“FinTech firms, family offices, holding and investment companies, as well as aviation companies and firms involved in structured finance will also be eligible to establish a Prescribed Company in the centre,” Jaffery said.

Jacques Visser, chief legal officer at DIFC Authority, said the new Prescribed Companies regime is a very positive regulatory development that is going to make the DIFC an even more accessible jurisdiction for businesses looking to tap into the Middle East, Africa and South Asia opportunity.

“By replacing Intermediate Special Purpose Vehicles and Special Purpose Companies regimes with a unified, simplified and more expansive regime with a very competitive cost-structure, we are well aligned with international best practices while also ensuring local market needs are met,” he said. – waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com