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Dubai unveils new rules to address needs of ultra-wealthy families

Issac John /Dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on October 10, 2021
DWTCA said through its new regulatory framework, it is reaffirming its commitment to family businesses and Dubai’s position as an attractive hub for local, regional and international family offices. — Supplied photo

DWTCA said the regulations would address the needs of family-run entities and introduce a new platform for wealthy families to set up offshore holding companies within its designated free zone to manage their private family global wealth, assets and investments from Dubai

As Dubai’s high-net-worth population surged 3.8 per cent to 54,000 in the first half of 2021, the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) announced new regulations to encourage family businesses to establish Single and Multiple Family Office (SFO & MFO) licences with the free zone.

In a statement on Sunday, DWTCA said the regulations would address the needs of family-run entities and introduce a new platform for wealthy families to set up offshore holding companies within its designated free zone to manage their private family global wealth, assets and investments from Dubai.

“Dubai has emerged as one of the most popular cities in the world for ultra-wealthy families, after more than 2,000 high-net-worth individuals moved to the emirate in the first six months of 2021. The city's population of HNWIs rose 3.8 per cent to 54,000, up from 52,000 in December 2020. The emirate’s business-forward outlook and low-risk environment make it an excellent prospect for Single and Multiple Family Offices, Trusts and Foundation,” DWTCA said.

Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of DWTCA, said the Authority recognises the need for a specialised legal and regulatory framework that offers distinct flexibility and fundamental benefits for setting up single and multiple family offices in Dubai to provide an attractive environment that supports Family Offices to operate successfully. “Family businesses are a highly significant segment within today’s global economic landscape and are integral to the wider international investment community. Following an exceptionally challenging year, family businesses worldwide have shown extraordinary resilience and agility, and are eager to diversify and expand into new markets,” said Almarri.

The new regulations allow for offshore entities, founded directly by members of a single-family, to own and manage their collective wealth, assets, businesses and investments through incorporating a new Free Zone Establishment (FZE) or Free Zone Company (FZCO), subsequently licensed to operate from DWTCA’s designated free zone.

The Multiple Family Office regulations cater to the growing international professional and wealth management and advisory service industry providers looking to operate and expand their market presence and management portfolios in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (Measa) region. MFO licences facilitate and enable services offered to multiple families, their members, businesses, entities, trusts, and foundations.

DWTCA said through its new regulatory framework, it is reaffirming its commitment to family businesses and Dubai’s position as an attractive hub for local, regional and international family offices. The new SFO regulations follow last month’s agreement between DWTCA and the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) to create a framework supporting the regulation, offering, issuance, listing and trading of crypto assets and related financial activities within DWTCA’s free zone.

Following a period of strong H1 growth in the first half of 2021, DWTCA has emerged as a highly sought-after free zone with 427 new company registrations – equating to 300 per cent year-on-year growth over the same period in 2020.

“DWTC Authority has made strong progress this year as a free zone of choice for the investor community. With Dubai’s business-friendly environment, best in class regulatory options and comprehensive judicial ecosystems, we are confident of maintaining this momentum,” said Almarri.

He said the authority would continue to review and update regulatory and licensing offerings to ensure Dubai always present unique investment opportunities to the international business community.

— issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

author

Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.





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