DIFC to Become Hub for Family Offices



The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) today announced new regulations to encourage family businesses to establish Single Family Offices (SFOs) at DIFC.

Created in consultation with the DFSA, the DIFC Single Family Office (SFO) Regulations specifically address the needs of family-run institutions and create a platform for wealthy families to set up holding companies at DIFC to manage private family wealth and family structures anywhere in the world.

HE Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC said: "In recent times, family offices have become highly significant on the global economic landscape. In the Middle East, where family-run businesses make up over 75 per cent of firms and have total assets in excess of US$1 trillion, the need for a specialised legal and regulatory framework is especially acute."

"In contrast to conventional financial institutions, Single Family Offices (SFOs) have no direct public liability as all their shareholders are bloodline descendants of a common ancestor. As such, their regulatory requirements differ significantly. By establishing the new Regulations, DIFC is once again reaffirming its commitment to family businesses and the development of DIFC into a hub for local, regional and international family offices."

The enactment of the Regulations follows a period of consultation where companies were invited to comment on the proposed Regulations. Having received highly positive feedback, the new Regulations will come into effect on 2 September 2008.

Central to the new Regulations are changes to the DIFC Single Family Offices (SFO) platform and consequential amendments to other DIFC and DFSA regulations such as the DFSA's General Module and Glossary Module.

The Regulations offer distinct benefits to Single Family Offices (SFOs) as they exclude them from many of the regulatory constraints placed on conventional organisations located at DIFC.

The Regulations follow the establishment of the DIFC Family Office initiative, which provides comprehensive infrastructure solutions for families and family businesses operating in the region.

The DIFC Family Office initiative was aimed at promoting DIFC as an ideal domicile for family offices. By combining a robust legal and regulatory framework with comprehensive support services, DIFC provides an environment that helps family offices operate successfully.

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