Dubai International Financial Center

DUBAI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTER

Dubai International Financial center is an onshore financial center strategically located between the east and west, which provides a secure and efficient platform for business and financial institutions to reach into and out of the emerging markets of the region. The quality and range of DIFC’s independent regulation, common law framework, supportive infrastructure and its tax-friendly regime make it the perfect base to take advantage of the region’s rapidly growing demand for financial and business services.

DIFC fills the time-zone gap for a global financial center between the leading financial centers of London and New York in the west and Hong Kong and Tokyo in the east. DIFC is plays a pivotal role in meeting the growing financial needs of the region.

BUSINESS IN Dubai International Financial Center

At the heart of the DIFC model is an independent risk-based regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which grants licenses and regulates the activities of all banking and financial institutions in DIFC. The regulatory body was created using principle-based primary legislation modelled closely on that used in London and New York. The DFSA has played a major role in providing financial companies the confidence that they have a sound, stable, secure and growth-oriented platform for their business.

DIFC is unique in that it has a legislative system consistent with English Common law. Given its construct, DIFC has its own set of civil and commercial laws and regulations and has developed a complete code of law governing financial services regulation. As part of its autonomy, DIFC has created an independent judicial system. The DIFC Courts is the entity responsible for the independent administration and enforcement of justice in DIFC. The Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all civil and commercial disputes arising within DIFC and or relating to bodies and companies registered in DIFC.

Benefits of setting up in DIFC

  • Platform to access regional wealth and investment opportunities
  • 100 percent foreign ownership
  • Zero percent tax rate on income and profits (guaranteed for a period of 50 years)
  • A wide network of double taxation treaties available to UAE incorporated entities
  • No exchange controls (free capital convertibility)
  • High standards of laws, rules and regulations
  • International legal system based on Common Law of England & Wales
  • A wholly transparent operating environment, complying with global best practices, and internationally accepted laws and regulatory processes
  • A variety of legal vehicles that can be established with capital structuring flexibility
  • Access to a large pool of skilled professionals residing in Dubai and the region
  • A modern transport, communications and internet infrastructure
  • A responsive one-stop shop service for visas, work permits and other related requirements
  • An independent common law judicial system

Dubai International Financial Center company type

Under the Companies Law, a prospective registrant may seek to establish.
  • A Company Limited by Shares (LTD),
  • A Limited Liability Company (LLC) or
  • A branch office of a pre-existing foreign company (Recognized Company).
  • A party may also seek to transfer the incorporation of an existing company to the DIFC from another jurisdiction (Continued Company).

Under the Limited Liability Partnership Law a prospective registrant may seek to establish
  • A Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), or
  • A Branch of a pre-existing foreign Limited Liability Partnership (RLLP).
  • Under the General Partnership Law, a prospective registrant may seek to establish:
  • A General Partnership (GP) or
  • A Branch of a pre-existing foreign general partnership (RP).

Under the Limited Partnership Law, a prospective registrant may seek to establish
  • A Limited Partnership (LP) or
  • A Branch of pre-existing limited partnership (RLP).
  • A party may also seek to transfer the existing limited partnership into DIFC from another jurisdiction (Continued Limited Partnership/Foreign Limited Partnership).

Dubai International Financial Center License type

Non-Regulated Commercial LicenseThe purpose of a Commercial License is to expedite contracting for municipal and commercial services essential to the establishment and operation of the licensee’s premises and carrying out its on-going operations.

Dubai International Financial Center
Established in 2004
About the free zone DIFC is an offshore financial center with an independent regulation and common law framework. Dubai Financial Services Authority grants licenses and regulates the activities of financial institutions operating out of DIFC. DIFC Courts is the entity responsible for the independent administration and enforcement of justice in DIFC. The Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over all civil and commercial disputes arising within DIFC and or relating to bodies and companies registered in DIFC.
Number of companies Over 1000
Industry focus Financial services
Limited liability companies Yes
Minimum number of shareholders required 1
Minimum number of directors required 2
Corporate shareholders allowed Yes
Corporate directors allowed No
Public register of shareholders and directors NO
Access to UAE Double Taxation Treaties Yes
Port at freezone No
Allowed to import and export goods Yes
Commercial offices Available as commercial offices, food courts and retail stores.
Industrial premises No
Warehousing facility No
Accommodation facility Yes in close proximity
Major companies example
  • 21 of the world’s top 25 banks
  • 11 of the world’s top 20 largest money managers
  • 6 of the world’s 10 largest insurance companies