Guides & Handbooks

A Guide to Making a Complaint to the DFSA

Complaints We Deal With

The DFSA is interested in receiving complaints about the following:

  • Contraventions of certain Laws and Rules administered by the DIFC Registrar of Companies;
  • Misconduct or dissatisfaction with an Authorised Firm, Authorised Individual, DNFBP, Authorised Market Institution or Fund
  • A contravention of a Law or Rule administered by the DFSA.
  • Any conduct that causes or may cause damage to the reputation of the Dubai International Financial Centre or the financial services industry in the DIFC.
  • Misconduct or dissatisfaction with the activities of the DFSA and/or any of its employees.

Below are some examples of the types of complaints the DFSA handles. If you are unsure of whether the complaint is relevant to us we urge you to submit a complaint.

  • Selling financial products that are unsuitable
  • Making false or misleading representations to customers about ​the characteristic of a financial product or service
  • Failing to act in the best interests of customers
  • Misusing client funds
  • Failing to observe high standards of integrity and fair dealing
  • Failing to observe high standards of corporate governance
  • Scams misusing the identity of the DIFC or DFSA

Complaints We Do Not Deal With

Not all problems are grounds for a complaint. We can only deal with complaints that fall within our jurisdiction or have the potential to adversely affect our jurisdiction. We may not be able to assist you directly if your complaint falls into one of the following categories:

  • Is unrelated to the DIFC
  • Involves conduct that does not contravene a Law or Rule administered by the DFSA; and involves conduct regulated by another regulator

If your complaint falls into any of the above categories then you may wish to contact the following agencies for assistance:


Complaints Against The DFSA

If you are dissatisfied with the actions of the DFSA or its employees in a regulatory matter, you are encouraged to initially seek an appointment with the employee or with the Director of his or her relevant department to resolve the matter.

If you remain dissatisfied, or prefer to make a formal complaint, you may use the process outlined here. Any such complaint will be initially received and assessed by the Office of the General Counsel, and handled in confidence by the DFSA.

If you wish to make such a complaint, go directly to the Complaints Form. You may submit your complaint online or deliver it directly to the Office of the General Counsel.

The Office of the General Counsel will determine the appropriate person in the DFSA to assess and resolve your complaint. You may expect the Office of the General Counsel itself to handle the complaint if it involves an allegation of ethical misconduct or dishonesty, improper use of information, conflict of interest, or breach of Laws or Regulations.

If your complaint is against a DFSA employee, be aware that it will be necessary for the person handling the complaint to contact the person you have complained about.

Once you submit your complaint you will be notified by email that it has been received.


Regulatory Complaints

Directly to the Firm

DIFC firms authorised by the DFSA must satisfy us that they have adequate mechanisms in place to deal with customer complaints. These mechanisms are designed to help you resolve your dispute by dealing with the company directly.

Before contacting the DFSA you should try dealing with the Authorised Firm first. This can often be quicker and more efficient as it is also in the company’s interest to resolve your complaint.

You may choose to contact the Authorised Firm in person, by phone or in writing. Putting your concerns in writing is the best way as it creates a record of your issue and allows you to retain a copy.

When writing to a company you should make sure you set out the circumstances of your complaint clearly and as simply as possible. Dealing with events chronologically can be a good start.

The Authorised Firm should acknowledge your complaint and provide you with a response to the issues you have raised.

If you are unhappy with this response you may wish to contact the DFSA.


To the DFSA

The DFSA will only consider complaints submitted to it in writing. To enable us to assess your complaint as quickly and efficiently as possible it should include the following information:

  • Your details e.g. Name, Address, Telephone, e-mail address
  • Details of the person against whom you have a complaint e.g. Name, Address, Telephone, e-mail address, as well as the individual you dealt with
  • Chronology of events including times and dates if possible

Attach any documents you have received or any documents you think may be relevant. If you have written to the subject of your complaint of Firm previously please provide a copy of your letter as well as any response you may have received from the person or Firm.

Have you taken any legal action?  If you are taking legal action in relation to the reported conduct please let us know who your lawyer is and if you consent to us contacting them to obtain more information.

All complaints are received in the strictest of confidence and we will take all necessary steps to protect the identities of complainants. Contacting the Firm directly is the quickest way of finding out information but we will only do so with your consent.

If you wish to submit a complaint to the DFSA, please click here.


Submit Your Complaint

The DFSA will only consider complaints submitted in writing. To submit a complaint you can:

1) Complete our online Complaints Form

2) Submit your written complaint to the DFSA via mail to DFSA, Level 13, The Gate, PO Box 75850, Dubai, UAE or via facsimile +971 (0)4 362 0801.


How We Handle Your Complaint

The DFSA acknowledges receipt of all complaints electronically or by post.

The DFSA will carefully assess each complaint to determine the most appropriate regulatory action, if any, to be taken. The DFSA does not generally seek commercial outcomes for complainants unless there is a public interest to be served.

The assessment may involve liaising with specialists within the DFSA, contacting witnesses, speaking with other regulators
and contacting the firm or individual who is the subject of the complaint.

The DFSA aims to complete assessments within twenty eight (28) days of receipt of your complaint. Some assessments may take longer. Once the assessment is complete, the DFSA will provide you with a final response. The DFSA will generally not disclose any confidential information relating to the DFSA’s treatment of the complaint, including whether the DFSA commences an investigation. However, the DFSA will inform you if it intends to take no further action in respect of the complaint or suggests another course of action.

Applying for DFSA Authorisation - A Guide for Firms Seeking Authorisation as an Authorised Firm

Applying for Recognition in the DIFC - A Guide for Firms Seeking Admission to the List of Recognised Members

Applying for Recognition in the DFSA: A guide for exchanges, clearing houses or settlement facilities seeking status as a Recognised Body