In addition to the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) “business stimulus initiative” announced on 31st March the Dubai Financial Services Authority (“DFSA”) has announced its own initiative to provide significant assistance and regulatory relief for the financial services community in the DIFC. The details of this initiative, as set out below, are aimed at helping new applicants to complete the application process as well as giving a certain amount of relief from some of the DFSA regulatory requirements to existing DFSA regulated firms.

Whilst the DFSA is closely monitoring the financial and operational impact of the COVID-19 global outbreak on the integrity of financial services and markets in the DIFC, the DFSA has also acknowledged its wider obligations through this initiative in relation to the wellbeing of the Centre’s community and ecosystem. 

Below we have set out the details of the initiative and who will benefit.

New Firms Coming into the DIFC

Extended deadlines for completion of authorisation: 
New applicants will be given more time to complete the application and authorisation processes and meet the set-up requirements to commence business.

Reduction in Application Fees:
A 50% reduction in Application Fees will be applied to all new DFSA applications for the remainder of 2020 and flexibility in requirements for permanent premises.

Waiver of Fund Registration Fee: 
In the case of Domestic Funds which are required to be registered, DFSA will waive the Registration Fees for the remainder of 2020.

Existing Authorised Firms in the DIFC

Extended Deadlines for Annual Returns:
The DFSA will grant an extension of time for filing a number of returns and reports, including both IRAP and ICAAP returns, the Controllers Report and the Annual Report of the Shari’a Supervisory Board.

Additional time for submission of Annual Accounts:
With the exception of Reporting Entities i.e. listed entities, the DFSA will, where it is reasonable to do so, allow additional time for submitting Annual Accounts and Financial Statement Auditors Report.

Flexibility around Authorised Individuals Obligations: 
This will include for instance, extending the amount of time that temporary cover can be in place.

Waiver of Application Fees for Authorised Individuals: 
A waiver of fees for applications relating to Authorised Individuals.

Flexibility in use of Outsourced Compliance Services:
The DFSA has removed certain restrictions to provide greater flexibility and capacity for outsourced compliance service providers to be able to assist firms with their Compliance obligations.

Temporary relief from Capital Requirements: 
For firms which do not hold or control Client Assets or hold Insurance Monies the DFSA may grant temporary relief from their Regulatory Capital Requirements.

Waiver of Modification and Waiver Application fees: 
The fees for applications for modifications and waivers as well as all automated late return fees will be waived for the remainder of 2020. 

Waiver of Listing Fees: 
The listing fees for new SME issuers in the DIFC will be waived for the remainder of 2020.

It should be noted that if you are an existing DFSA authorised firm and you would like to benefit from any of these initiatives you must contact the DFSA to agree what would be considered a reasonable amount of flexibility or a reasonable extension of deadlines. In general, the DFSA have stated they are committed to supporting businesses and customers during this time and will consider any reasonable requests for regulatory relief in addition to those set out above.

If you have any questions regarding this update, or if you are looking for guidance on doing business in the DIFC, contact our consultancy team.

We have a dedicated team of experienced compliance consultants who can provide expert assurance and peace of mind. Get in touch to see how we can help your Firm.

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