How to get investment and
finance business licenses in the UAE

Set up a successful investment and financial business in a stable and attractive country

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Comfortable legislation, state support and the purchasing power of the population have resulted in a prosperous financial and investment environment. They have made the United Arab Emirates one of the most protected countries in terms of all kinds of financial risks. Having obtained a license and tax resident status, you can issue loans, manage and advise, receive commissions and rewards while managing securities and finances in the UAE and abroad, without taxes and exchange of tax information.

Types of financial activities available for
licensing in the UAE

The selection of a license determines your business development strategy, so approach choosing the appropriate type of
activity carefully. SORP Group consultants will help you understand licensing details and issues.

Commercial
projects

Attracting and placing funds in commercial
business projects/assets, and management.

Operations with
securities

Financial instruments, investment and client
(intermediary) activities in financial markets.

Financial
products

Providing direct and trade financing, issuing
credit cards and financial products.

Payment service
provider

License of Payment Service Provider (PSP) -
activities for receiving and processing
payments for third parties.

Investment
consulting

Providing a range of services related to
optimizing the use of assets, attracting and
placing investments.

FinTech
licenses

Financial services with the use of innovative
technologies and Big Data, artificial
intelligence, blockchain.

Insurance and
reinsurance

Providing insurance and reinsurance products
and services to individuals and companies.

Creating
Investment Funds

Pooling funds of private persons and legal
entities for the purposes of joint investment.

Asset trust
management

Placement of investors' funds in company
assets and financial products for a fee.

Conducting investment and financial activities in the UAE and working in foreign markets requires detailed understanding of the applicable local legislation and attracting a licensed participant to undergo incorporation procedures. SORP Group has the expertise, competence and authorization to perform all tasks involved in incorporating an investment and financial business in the United Arab Emirates.


SORP services that support investment and
financial businesses

Prepare your business
model

We will find the best solution for
what you want to achieve, the most
suitable license and type of entity

Incorporate
your business

We cooperate closely with
the relevant authorities and so
we can deliver services quickly

Your local partner
or agent

Professional nominee services from
SORP Investment LLC with a waiver
of rights in the Dubai court

Prestigious
business address

SORP Business Center enables
our clients to rent an office so as
to pass licensing procedures

Opening your
bank accounts

We know the compliance processes
of UAE banks and we provide help in
passing KYC

Outsourced
business processes

We provide integrated legal, tax,
accounting and administrative
services with full business support

Differences and peculiarities of investment and
financial licenses in the UAE

Mainland
incorporation

  • Local (mainland) companies may
    conduct business in the domestic
    UAE market while also providing an
    opportunity to represent interests
    and operate in foreign markets.
  • Due to the company's presence in
    the local market, this solution gives
    status and credibility with banks
    and counterparties, as well as
    prestige in the international arena.
    It has a complicated structure.

Financial
centers

  • Licenses here ensure the right
    to conduct both financial and
    investment business transactions
    on a permanent basis in specialized
    FTZs and in international markets.
  • A license in the DIFC and ADGM -
    the major financial centers of the
    UAE – assures both the high status
    and prestige of the company. 100%
    foreign ownership allowed, but a
    complex registration process.

Incorporation
in some FTZs

  • Companies licensed here are
    used for conducting activities
    outside the UAE and carrying
    out financial and investment
    operations.
  • It does not allow you to operate
    freely in the domestic market.
    Cautious attitude on the part of
    local banks and counterparties.
    Allows 100% foreign ownership,
    as well as easy to obtain a license.

UAE jurisdictions for incorporating investment and financial
companies

Mainland (The local area)

Economic Development Departments of each of the Emirates act as Registrars.
Additional requirements and approvals from local financial regulators may be required for a number
of licenses.

Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)

DIFC has a separate financial regulator (DFSA) in its structure, a registration authority and its own
arbitration court. A number of licenses may be subject to additional requirements and approvals from
the internal financial regulator.

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

ADGM has a separate financial regulator (FSRA) in its structure, a registration authority and its own
arbitration court. A number of licenses may be subject to additional requirements and approvals from
the internal financial regulator.

A number of Free Trade Zones of the Northern Emirates

These have minimal licensing requirements and no internal financial regulators. They do not impose
additional requirements for most business activities but operating in the local market is prohibited.

Requirements of UAE government regulators

Some investment and financial licenses must be approved for business activities by the Central Bank of the Emirates (the UAE Central Bank, CB UAE)
and the Committee for the Management of Financial and Commodity Markets (Securities and Commodities Authority, SCA).

State
control

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There are different state requirements depending on the type of activity and jurisdiction of incorporation. The main regulatory bodies are: CB - the Central Bank of the UAE, the Financial and Commodity Markets Management Committee (SCA), and the Police.

Share
capital

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In most cases, there are requirements relating to the amount of authorized capital, the minimum level of which varies from 41 000 US dollars to 1.4 million. In rare cases, for complex licenses, the authorized capital required can be as much as US dollars 8-14 million or more.

Bank
guarantee

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The State has established requirements for a bank guarantee for the fulfillment of financial obligations to third parties. The amount of the guarantee depends on the type of financial or investment activity. Sometimes the deposit required can be quite significant.

Qualified
personnel

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There are requirements related to staffing levels and skills, covering financial managers, analysts, specialists in internal control over financial transactions, as well as a general manager with the appropriate level of education or qualifications.

Equipped
office

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Financial and investment companies are subject to a number of requirements related to having a physical office, equipped according to the regulatory standards and international norms. It must be also appropriate for confirming it as the business decision-making center in accordance with the requirements of Economic Substance.

Internal
control

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Regulators are obliged to ensure a system of internal control is in place and strict compliance with the law in order to minimize risks. They also look for mechanisms and processes that ensure compliance with money laundering legislation.

SORP Group's comprehensive solutions to
support your business in the UAE

Individual business
model definition

We integrate ideal development
strategies for you based on the
competition and the law. Then we
choose the right operating license
for doing local or global business.

Business
incorporation

SORP Groups’s own specialists
incorporate businesses quickly
and with impeccable high quality
standards in close cooperation
with the registration authorities.

Legal
support

SORP Group’s corporate lawyers,
and our strategic partnerships
with the best lawyers in the UAE
and around the world, provide
superb legal support.

International
Tax Planning

We design personalized tax
solutions for doing international
business using the full scope of
UAE legislation, drawing on our
wide experience in this field.

Obtaining tax
residency status

Enjoy tax resident (domicile)
status shielding you from CRS
requirements regarding sharing
your tax details, as well as
preventing double taxation.

Confirmation of
economic substance

We help fulfil proof of economic
substance based on the registered
location of your company, its tax
compliance, and localized decision
making and management.

SORP provides a full range of incorporation,
support and management services in the UAE

Comprehensive services

SORP offers comprehensive support for acquired companies and their shareholders: from licensing, maintaining Bank accounts to obtaining the status of a tax resident of the country

Individual approach

Your requirements are unique. That is why we treat every business individually to tailor the right services to achieve your priorities.

15 years of successful work

We have helped thousands of clients acquire, build and develop businesses in the UAE

Banking support

Assistance in choosing a bank that is suitable for your purposes, support with bank accounts opening and passing KYC procedures (know your customer).


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