Dubai International Financial Center or DIFC is a global financial center strategically located between the East and West, providing a stable and secure platform for businesses and financial institutions to tap into the emerging markets of the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. The Centre’s internationally recognized and independent regulation, common law framework, tax-friendly regime, and enabling environment make the ideal hub to access the region’s rapidly growing demand for financial and business services. DIFC fills the time-zone gap between the leading financial centers of London and New York in the West and Hong Kong and Tokyo in the East. Guided by its core values of integrity, transparency and efficiency, the Centre continues to play a pivotal role in meeting the growing financial needs of the region.
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Non regulated DIFC business registration is simply anything not related to Banking and Finance. Examples include personal services such as tailors, salons and fitness gyms, retail shops offering jewelry, electronics and apparel and a wide range of restaurants and cafes, from quick casual to fine dining. Non-financial activities also extend to specialized establishments such as hotels and academic institutions that further extend the breadth of opportunities on offer to professionals working at Dubai International Financial Centre.
Banking & Finance related Business Activities supported by an enabling and evolving financial regulatory ecosystem, regulated entities make up most of Dubai International Financial Centre’s client portfolio.
Dubai International Financial Centre provides a 50-year guarantee of zero taxes on corporate income and profits, enhanced by the UAE’s wide network of double taxation avoidance treaties with more than 50 countries.
DIFC-based companies face no restrictions or constraints on capital or profit flows, and there are no currency exchange controls in this US dollar-denominated jurisdiction.
Within Dubai International Financial Center, subsidiaries and other incorporated entities enjoy 100% foreign ownership, as well as a flexible, world-class regulatory environment that allows for a wide range of options for structuring legal entities. It also offers a specific option for a representative office license.
DIFC’s legal system and courts follow a Common Law framework that is administered by an independent and highly regarded regulator and adjudicated on by an equally respected court system. Distinct from the UAE legal system, laws and regulations are issued in English.
One of the principal factors behind the success of Dubai International Financial Center is its independent risk-based regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA). The DFSA grants licenses and regulates the activities of financial services conducted through Dubai International Financial Centre. The DFSA is recognized by UK’s Financial Services Authority (FSA), the US Federal Reserve and is a member of the International Organizations of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). Moreover, the DFSA has established more than 90 MOUs with regulators and central banks across the globe.
DIFC presents a range of suitable structure types that are attractive to an individual or corporate investor. A DIFC entity can be registered as any of the following:
The Dubai International Financial Center Authority, established under Dubai Law No. 9 of 2004 as a juridical entity attached to the Government of Dubai, is the body charged with overseeing the operation and administration of Dubai International Financial Centre. Its responsibilities include developing an overall strategy and providing direction, promoting DIFC and attracting licensees to operate in Dubai International Financial Center .
Created under Law No. 9 of 2004 and entirely independent of the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority and the Dubai International Financial Center Judicial Authority, the DFSA is the integrated regulator responsible for the authorization, licensing and registration of institutions and individuals who wish to conduct financial and professional services in or from DIFC.
The DIFC Courts’ statutory function is that of administering and enforcing the civil and commercial laws of Dubai International Financial Center.
The ROC operates under the Companies Law as a separate legal body established as a “Corporation Sole”. The ROC is responsible for advising on, receiving, reviewing and processing all applications submitted by prospective DIFC registrants seeking to establish a presence in Dubai International Financial Center in accordance with the Companies Law, the General Partnership Law, the Limited Liability Partnership Law, or the Limited Partnership Law, and the implementing regulations applicable thereto.
The ROS is responsible for recording and registering, and thereby establishes the priority of, security pledged against loans, guarantees, and other financial transactions
LLC DIFC Investments operates and manages a diverse portfolio of investments in line with the development of the Centre’s investment strategy and policies. It works to form strategic alliances to further the goals and objectives of Dubai International Financial Center.
Hawkamah Institute of Corporate Governance is an international association of corporate governance practitioners, regulators, and institutions whose primary mandate is to develop corporate governance best practices in the Middle East.
Mudara – Institute of Directors (IOD) is a membership organization serving directors, professional leaders, and governance professionals in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
In early 2008, Dubai International Financial Centre positioned itself as an international arbitration jurisdiction with the establishment of the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre. A joint venture with the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the center offers dispute resolution services to business and commercial organizations worldwide.
The RORP protects the rights of buyers, sellers, and leaseholders.