how we assess applications

Before we can authorise a firm as an Authorised Firm, we need to be satisfied that the firm meets our Fit and Proper test, and is likely to do so on an ongoing basis. Generally, Fit and Proper means the ability to carry out a financial service competently, with honesty and integrity.

The areas we look at include:

Legal status:

A firm must be a body corporate or partnership. It can be formed in the DIFC, or a firm can establish a branch of a legal entity based in another jurisdiction. In the latter instance, the DFSA would expect the outside jurisdiction to have internationally compliant regulatory and legal standards.

Location of offices:

A firm must carry on its activities from a place of business in the DIFC. Please discuss office requirements with the DIFC Authority Business Development Unit.

Ownership and group structure:

The DFSA seeks to establish that it will be able to effectively supervise the firm. Therefore we need to be made aware of any Close Links (eg parent, subsidiary, sister company) which could hinder effective ongoing supervision.

Adequate resources:

A firm must have adequate resources to carry out the proposed financial services including financial resources and adequate systems and controls. A firm must have an internal audit function.

Senior management:

A firm must appoint a Senior Executive Officer, a Compliance Officer, an Anti-Money Laundering Reporting Officer and a Finance Officer. The first three positions require the individuals responsible to be resident in the UAE. As part of our process, we will evaluate the competence and integrity of the proposed senior management team.