Dubai unveils the regulatory blueprint for its International Financial Centre

Dubai today takes another major step towards the launch of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) with the publication of its Regulatory Law.  This law specifies the DIFC’s ambitious plan to create the regions first regulatory framework equal in quality to the world-leading centres of London, Hong Kong and Wall Street.

The law, published for consultation by the DIFCs Regulatory Authority, creates a framework built on the best practice of leading jurisdictions in Europe, North America and the Far East.  The worlds leading banking and financial institutions will therefore not only enjoy its familiarity but also benefit from Dubai’s unique position of creating a financial centre from the ground up.

Drafting of the law is based on the DIFC’s fundamental principles of integrity, transparency and simplicity.  Thus unnecessary bureaucratic processes are eliminated, the law is written in plain English and it benefits from consultations with, and submissions from, financial institutions, their professional advisers and other interested parties.

The draft also reflects the desire of the Regulatory Authority to work closely with the UAE Central Bank on such vital areas as money laundering compliance.  For example, the law acknowledges the importance of the Federal anti-money laundering laws administered by the Central Bank and the obligations created by those laws, but it also enables the Regulatory Authority to make its own additional rules to provide a comprehensive regulatory solution to an important area of mutual concern.

Phillip Thorpe, Chief Executive of the DIFCs Regulatory Authority, said:

The proposed Regulatory Law incorporates the best features found in the worlds foremost jurisdictions.  We have also made good use of our freedom to create a single, logical framework - in contrast to older-established jurisdictions, who often have to make and mend within existing frameworks which may gradually become more complex and less relevant.

Leading institutions will have the peace of mind of knowing that, when they locate in the proposed DIFC, their reputations will be safe because the regulations, and indeed the application of those regulations, will be of world quality.

Much work has still to be done before the DIFC can begin to issue its licenses.  But enough has been achieved already - with todays proposed Regulatory Law as another milestone - for us to be in no doubt that the DIFC can become a magnet for international capital to finance business and employment not only in Dubai and the UAE but throughout the region.

In the coming weeks further laws will be published for consultation.  The Regulatory Authority will also begin to publish draft modules from its Regulatory Rulebook.  The principles of regulation, rules relating to client classification and prudential rules are expected for example to be published in draft form in early June.

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