DIFC introduces flexible regulatory regime for select companies
Priya Wadhwa
10x Industry

DIFC introduces flexible regulatory regime for select companies

To the delight of next-gen FinTech startups.

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, is introducing friendlier business environments and flexible regulations under its new regime.

The new regime was unveiled during a session with Law Firms and Corporate Service Providers (CSPs) at DIFC Conference Centre earlier today to obtain market feedback on the legislative proposal, which is currently under public consultation.

The move will aim to make structuring and financing faster, economical, and more flexible. 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.’

The new regime will include firms that are either regulated by Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) or a recognised International Financial Services Regulator. FinTech firms, family offices, holding and investment companies, as well as aviation companies, and firms involved in structured finance will be eligible to establish themselves as a Prescribed Company in the Centre.

DIFC has been working on expanding its rules and guidelines to address concerns of a number of unique new startups have previously faced issues with adhering to its restrictive old definitions and categories. Earlier this year it also launched an API sandbox environment to support startups that worked with new-age technologies.

The new “unified, simplified and more expansive regime with a very competitive cost-structure” will allow certain firms to establish themselves in the DIFC with more flexible office requirements and other aspects. The annual licensing fee for Prescribed Companies has also been reduced to US$1,000, with an incorporation fee of US$100.

It is great to see DIFC enhancing its legislative infrastructure, and giving the business community the certainty and access they need to capture the opportunities within the MEASA region, through Dubai.