AR

Who We Are
Corporate Social Responsibility
How We Regulate
International Assessment

WHO WE ARE

WHO WE ARE

Vision

To be an internationally respected regulator, leading the development of financial services through strong and fair regulation.

Mission

To develop, administer and enforce world-class regulation of financial services within the DIFC.

Regulatory Approach

To be risk-based and to avoid unnecessary regulatory burden.

Values

To expect high standards of ethical conduct and integrity from the DFSA and its people.

To demonstrate professionalism, independence, efficiency, leadership and resolve in the discharge of our responsibilities.

To ensure administrative fairness, consultative process, accessibility, impartiality and accountability in the performance of our functions.


Why We Are Here

  • We authorise and register institutions and individuals who wish to conduct financial services in or from the DIFC.
  • We supervise regulated participants and monitor their compliance with the laws, regulations and rules that apply.
  • We enforce the legislation that we administer.

Our regulatory regime has been tailor-made to suit the DIFC, to the highest international standards. The result is clear and succinct legislation that is appropriate for a modern financial centre.


Objectives and Principles

The DFSA has established, and strives to maintain, an environment that fosters the DIFC guiding principles of integrity, transparency and efficiency. It has done so by embedding uncompromisingly high standards in a clear, succinct and flexible regulatory framework based on international best practices relevant to a modern international financial centre.

In discharging its regulatory mandate, the DFSA has a statutory obligation to pursue the following objectives.

  • To foster and maintain fairness, transparency and efficiency in the financial services industry (namely, the financial services and related activities carried on) in the DIFC.
  • To foster and maintain confidence in the financial services industry in the DIFC.
  • To foster and maintain the financial stability of the financial services industry in the DIFC, including the reduction of systemic risk.
  • To prevent, detect and restrain conduct that causes or may cause damage to the reputation of the DIFC or the financial services industry in the DIFC, through appropriate means including the imposition of sanctions.
  • To protect direct and indirect users and prospective users of the financial services industry in the DIFC.
  • To promote public understanding of the regulation of the financial services industry in the DIFC.
  • To pursue any other objectives as the Ruler may, from time-to-time, set under DIFC Law.


In exercising its powers and performing its functions, the DFSA shall take into consideration the following guiding principles, being the desirability of:

  • Pursuing the objectives of the DIFC as set out under Dubai Law in so far as it is appropriate and proper for the DFSA to do so.
  • Fostering the development of the DIFC as an internationally respected financial centre.
  • Co-operating with and providing assistance to regulatory authorities in the United Arab Emirates and other jurisdictions.
  • Minimising the adverse effects of the activities of the DFSA on competition in the financial services industry.
  • Using its resources in the most efficient way.
  • Ensuring the cost of regulation is proportionate to its benefit.
  • Exercising its powers and performing its functions in a transparent manner.
  • Complying with relevant generally accepted principles of good governance.


DFSA Role

The DFSA administers the Regulatory Law 2004, which is the cornerstone legislation of the regulatory regime. The Law establishes the constitution of the DFSA and enables the creation of the regulatory framework within which entities may be licensed, authorised, registered and supervised by the DFSA.

Under the Law, the DFSA has the power to enforce the Law and Rules that apply to all regulated participants within the DIFC.

The DFSA also administers the Markets Law 2012. This law governs the activities and conduct of financial and market participants.

The DFSA also administers the Law Regulating Islamic Financial Business 2004, the Trust Law 2005, the Collective Investment Law 2010 and the Investment Trust Law 2006.

The DFSA also strives to detect and prevent money laundering activities within the DIFC, and will work closely with the UAE Central Bank in this vital area.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is the responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment through transparent and ethical behaviour that is consistent with sustainable development and the welfare of society; takes into account the expectations of stakeholders; is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behaviour; and is integrated throughout the organisation.

The DFSA has adopted a strategic approach to giving to society, through innovative initiatives and programmes for sharing knowledge. In 2014 the DFSA launched Bawabaty ‘My Gateway’ a Financial Services Awareness initiative targeted at the UAE youth sector with the aim to introduce UAE nationals to field of Financial Services and work ethics in a professional working environment.

The DFSA also developed a Summer Training Programme that provides UAE National undergraduates with the opportunity to work in the DFSA to gain work experience and skills in four of our operational areas and they are; Corporate Affairs, Finance, Administration, Human Resources and Information Technology.

Furthermore, the DFSA family contributes and participates in many local CSR initiatives such as; packaging goods for labourers and blood donations.

Bawabaty

In March 2014, the DFSA Launched Bawabaty or ‘My Gateway’.

Bawabaty is a Financial Services Awareness Initiative for the Local Community, a new initiative developed by the DFSA to improve the work readiness of UAE Nationals joining the workforces of the future and to reach out to different sections of the local community.

In the first instance, Bawabaty will target the UAE youth sector, and through a series of seminars and events, Bawabaty aims to introduce UAE Nationals to topics such as business ethics and financial literacy. Facilitating learning and understanding of the financial services industry, as a whole, will better provide individuals with the skills and knowledge that employers typically look for.

The principal objectives of Bawabaty are to 1) to meet the growing needs of UAE National university graduates wishing to pursue a career in financial services; 2) to provide lifelong learning opportunities for our local community; and 3) to support community education in financial services, in the UAE.

Bawabaty’s inaugural event held at the DIFC Centre of Excellence on March 17 focused on ‘Integrity at Work’ and saw the DFSA partnering with the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI). The workshop, which included individual voting machines, real-time results and lively debates, provided attendees with the unique opportunity to vote on a range of ethical challenges, drawn from real-life situations from the workplace.

The highlights of the inaugural workshop included the lively, well-informed and instructive discussions facilitated by Mr Kevin Moore, Chartered MCSI, CISI Director Global Business Development. His “Integrity At Work” presentation provided participants with the unique opportunity to vote on a range of ethical challenges, drawn from real-life workplace situations. These discussions allowed the fruitful exchange of ideas, experiences and opinions between the participants on wide ranging issues faced by young graduates in the UAE.

Bawabaty Gallery

To view Bawabaty Gallery. click here

Bawabaty Events

For more information on Bawabaty events, click here

Summer Training Programme

Bawabaty aims to raise awareness of financial services regulation in the UAE National community. As part of this community initiative the launch of the Summer Training Programme in 2015 will allow undergraduates to have the experience of working in the DFSA.

The DFSA would like to support UAE National youth employability through the provision of internships to gain work experience and skills in four of our operational areas

Please click on the four Departments below to read details of each internship (job description).

Corporate Affairs

Finance & Administration

Human Resources

Information Technology

For Graduate and other Internship opportunities. click here

For other career opportunities available at the DFSA. click here

Bawabaty aims to improve the employability of young UAE Nationals.

Summer 2015 saw Ms Afra Majid Mohamed Al-Khazraji (from Zayed University) and Ms Shaikha Khaled Abdulla Ahmed Alreyaysa  (from Higher Colleges of Technology, Sharjah Women’s College) join the Summer Trainee Programme. The two students received on-the-job training from the DFSA's Finance and Corporate Affairs Departments.

How We Regulate

In fulfilling its mandate as the sole independent financial services regulator for the DIFC, the DFSA performs a number of functions.

  • Policy and Rulemaking
  • Authorisation
  • Recognition
  • Supervision
  • Enforcement
  • International Co-operation

The DFSA’s stated approach is: “To be a risk-based regulator and to avoid unnecessary regulatory burden”. We believe regulation should be directed to the mitigation of risks that would otherwise be unacceptable. We also believe that compliance obligations should be proportionate to the mitigation of those risks within a framework that enables regulated entities to effectively and efficiently meet their compliance obligations.

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Under this model, we set priorities for the use of our resources and have adopted a continuous risk management cycle which identifies, assesses, prioritises and mitigates unacceptable risks to our regulatory objectives or a particular sector of our financial services industry. We recognise that these risks may arise from within or outside the DIFC so we regularly monitor regional and international financial markets and trends. This systematic assessment of risk allows us to identify common issues across our regulated community and to undertake necessary thematic work in response.

Our risk-based philosophy applies to all divisions of the DFSA and all our dealings with regulated entities. We believe that focusing more on outcomes rather than the way they should be achieved, results in more effective and efficient risk-based regulation.

The DFSA believes that it is appropriate to clearly and regularly state our approach to regulation to ensure it is clearly understood by all external and internal stakeholders. Our Approach to Regulation together with the DFSA Vision, Mission and Values form the foundation upon which we do our work.

Policy and Rulemaking

The Regulatory Law 2004 gives the DFSA Board of Directors the general power to make rules regarding all matters that are related to our objectives, powers and functions. The rulemaking process normally includes a period of public consultation which gives interested persons the opportunity to comment on the proposed rules. We consider these comments to be a valuable input. Our rulemaking power also allows us to respond quickly and efficiently to matters, trends and events affecting the DIFC



International Co-operation

To achieve our objectives, the DFSA continues to forge close ties with other regulatory agencies within Dubai and the UAE, as well as with international regulators and organisations. Access to public information can sometimes be difficult for fellow regulators outside our jurisdiction so a number of links to local registers, the DIFC's two exchanges, DIFC Court decisions, local and English language news sources and telephone directories are provided here. In the context of non-public information, the DFSA actively pursues alliances and the creation of Memoranda of Understanding with our counterpart regulators. While the DIFC's Regulatory Law governs, these Memoranda facilitate the way in which regulators can assist each other in the pursuit of individual and common objectives, including through the exchange of information and the use of enforcement powers.

Memoranda of Understanding

MoUs signed by the DFSA

The traditional mechanism for formalising co-operation between regulatory authorities in different jurisdictions is a bi-lateral Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

There is no magic in an MoU. It simply provides a formal basis for co-operation between regulatory authorities, including the exchange of information and investigative assistance, based on existing laws. This means it cannot make lawful a release of information that would otherwise be unlawful nor can it compel assistance that can only be voluntary.

It should be noted that the lack of a MoU is no impediment to sharing information and giving assistance to a fellow regulator as the DFSA's authority to share and assist is based on specific provisions in the Regulatory Law.

Multi-lateral MoUs

  • The International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO)
  • The Boca Declaration
  • The Asian-Oceanian Standard-Setters Group (AOSSG)
  • The International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS)



Bi-lateral MoUs

Australia Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)
Australia Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA)
Belgium Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission (CBFA)
Canada Superintendent of Financial Institutions of Canada (OSFI)
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands Monetary Authority (CIMA)
China China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC)
China China Securities Regulatory Commission (CRSC)
Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Denmark Finanstilsynet
Dubai Dubai Police
Dubai Public Prosecution Department
Egypt Capital Markets Authority (CMA)
Egypt Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA)
Europe European Securities and Markes Authority
France Banque de France
France French Markets Authority (FMA)
Germany Bundesanstalt fur finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin)
Greece Hellenic Capital Market Commission (HCMC)
Guernsey Financial Services Commission (FSC)
Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC)
Iceland The Financial Supervisory Authority (FME)
India Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
India Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)
Indonesia Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK)
Ireland Irish Financial Services Regulatory Authority (now the Central Bank of Ireland)
Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission (FSC)
Isle of Man Insurance and Pensions Authority (IPA)
Italy Italian Securities and Exchange Commission (CONSOB)
Italy Bank of Italy
Japan Japan Financial Services Authority (JFSA)
Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)
Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC)
Jordan Insurance Commission (IC)
Jordan Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ)
Lebanon Banque du Liban (BDL)
Luxembourg Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF)
Malaysia Securities Commission (SC)
Malaysia Bank Negara/the Central Bank
Malta Mauritius Malta Financial Services Authority Financial Services Commission (FSC)
Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM)
Netherlands De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB)
New Zealand Securities Commission (SC)
Oman Capital Market Authority (CMA)
Portugal Banco de Portugal
Qatar Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority
Singapore Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
South Africa Financial Services Board (FSB)
South Africa Reserve Bank
South Korea Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC)
Switzerland Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA)
Sweden Finansinspektionen (FI)
Taiwan Financial Supervisory Commission of Chinese Taipei (FSC)
Thailand Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Turkey Capital Markets Board (CMB)
Turkey Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK)
UAE Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority (ESCA)
UAE Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates (CBUAE)
UAE Anti-Money Laundering Suspicious Cases Unit of the Central Bank (AMLSCU)
UAE Insurance Authority of the United Arab Emirates
UAE Dubai – Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)
UAE Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA)
UK The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)
UK Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA)
United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
United States Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)
United States The Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) [and what was known as “Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS)” which ceased to be in 2011]
United States New York State Banking Department

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Recognised Jurisdiction Notice

Under the Collective Investment Law 2010, the DFSA may recognise certain countries and territories where it is satisfied that the law and practice under which such funds are regulated in these jurisdictions are broadly equivalent to the DFSA's collective investment regime. The DFSA will also designate certain types of funds in such jurisdictions.

The DFSA has also entered into a Mutual Recognition Agreement with the Securities Commission Malaysia with respect to the cross-border marketing and offering of Islamic funds.

A full list of recognised jurisdictions can be obtained under Legal Framework.

Read moreopen

The DFSA’s stated approach is: “To be a risk-based regulator and to avoid unnecessary regulatory burden”. We believe regulation should be directed to the mitigation of risks that would otherwise be unacceptable. We also believe that compliance obligations should be proportionate to the mitigation of those risks within a framework that enables regulated entities to effectively and efficiently meet their compliance obligations.

Under this model, we set priorities for the use of our resources and have adopted a continuous risk management cycle which identifies, assesses, prioritises and mitigates unacceptable risks to our regulatory objectives or a particular sector of our financial services industry. We recognise that these risks may arise from within or outside the DIFC so we regularly monitor regional and international financial markets and trends. This systematic assessment of risk allows us to identify common issues across our regulated community and to undertake necessary thematic work in response.

Our risk-based philosophy applies to all divisions of the DFSA and all our dealings with regulated entities. We believe that focusing more on outcomes rather than the way they should be achieved, results in more effective and efficient risk-based regulation.

The DFSA believes that it is appropriate to clearly and regularly state our approach to regulation to ensure it is clearly understood by all external and internal stakeholders. Our Approach to Regulation together with the DFSA’s Vision, Mission and Values form the foundation upon which we do our work.

Regulatory Due Diligence Links

To assist our fellow regulators, particularly in fulfilling their licensing and registration responsibilities, the DFSA has joined other members of IOSCO in an initiative to provide enhanced access to publicly available information. The following links to local registers, the DIFC's two exchanges, DIFC Court decisions, local and national English language news sources and telephone directories are provided here to answer preliminary enquiries and to facilitate the due diligence process.

Requests from regulators and other agencies for non-public information should be directed to the DSFA's Director of International Relations and will be dealt with under existing bi-lateral or multi-lateral protocols.Even in the absence of a Memorandum of Understanding, requests will be dealt with according to the DIFC Regulatory Law and the DFSA's Policy Statement on Confidential Regulatory Information.

International Assessment

From time-to-time, international standard setting and oversight bodies, conduct assessment of the DFSA’s regulatory regime. Our aim is to create an environment that is on par with international standards of regulation and represents a best-of-breed of best practices.

IMF and World Bank FSAP

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank (IMF) jointly conduct periodic Financial System Stability Assessments (FSAP) of member states, typically on a three to five year cycle.  The purpose of the Assessments is to ensure that a jurisdiction's regulatory and supervisory systems and practices contribute to financial stability.  In that regard, the IMF assesses financial regulators' quality and performance, and conformity with recognised international best practice.

There are three oversight bodies that prescribe minimum standards for the Banking, Insurance, and Securities sectors:  the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS), and the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

The IMF completed an FSAP of the United Arab Emirates on July 27, 2007, with a public report, issued on October 31, 2007.  The UAE FSAP included a separate assessment of the DIFC, a separate jurisdiction within the UAE, and the DFSA. The IMF considers the DIFC to be an on-shore jurisdiction.

The FSAP Report states, in pertinent part, that "...the legal framework governing commercial activity in the Centre is well developed, with highly-skilled supervisors and a strong monitoring system in place."  Further, the DIFC "...has well defined regulatory and supervisory systems that are on a par with other regional financial centers (such as Singapore and Hong Kong)."

The FSAP included a separate "Detailed Assessment of Observance of IOSCO Objectives and Principles of Securities Regulation". The IMF concluded that "The DFSA has established a very impressive set of laws, regulations and rules and policies and procedures for regulation. Its staff is well qualified and work to international best practice standards." 

The assessment considered 29 of the 30 IOSCO Principles (one Principle pertaining to payment systems was not applicable), and concluded that the DFSA had "Fully Implemented" 27 Principles and has "Broadly Implemented" the remaining two Principles.

The FSAP did not include a detailed review of the DFSA's implementation of the BCBS Core Principles for Effective Banking Supervision or the IAIS Core Principles due to the developing nature of those business sectors in the DIFC at the time of the on-site assessment (early 2007).  Accordingly, and in line with international best practice and transparency, we have performed self assessments of adherence to those standards.  The self assessments, below, reflect that the DFSA substantially meets these international standards.

Self Assessment on Basel Core Principles

Self Assessment on the IAIS Core Principles 

IMF FATF Report

United Arab Emirates: Detailed Assessment Report on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism - September 2008