How to prepare to apply
We strongly recommend that firms, in the first instance, engage with the Business Development unit of the DIFCA. They will help you understand the value proposition of the DIFC to assist your evaluation of whether a presence here will make business sense for your firm.
Some firms go straight to attempting to complete the application forms. This often results in a poor application and can lengthen the application process. Here are some recommended preparation steps:
- Decide what type of business you want to carry out and check which Financial Services you will need to apply for.
- Determine who will be part of the senior management and who will be in the mandatory positions. Prepare to complete the necessary individual application forms.
- Develop a comprehensive regulatory business plan that sets out your proposed activities, 3-year financial projections and budget, resources such as human, systems and financial. This can be shared with the DFSA Authorisation Enquiries team who will be happy to comment on your proposal.
- Familiarise yourself with the applicable rules from the DFSA Rulebook and be prepared to show how you will comply with those rules. This will include providing a compliance manual, a compliance monitoring programme, and risk management policies.
- Determine your minimum regulatory capital requirements, with which you will need to comply at all times. This should be included in your 3-year financial projections.
Completing the Application Forms
It is vital that you supply all relevant information. Openness and honesty are essential. Should we need to examine your application more closely because of any disclosures you make, this will not necessarily count against you. However, deliberately withholding information or providing false or misleading information will adversely impact the success of your application. If in doubt, disclose.
If the information you provide is inaccurate or incomplete, we may deem your application as materially incomplete, in which case it would not be accepted. Thus, missing information will lengthen the application process. Ensure that all relevant documents are also included with your completed application.
You should also start the registration process with the DIFC Registrar of Companies at the same time as you submit your DFSA application. This will help you to avoid delays at the end of the authorisation process.