New DIFC Company Regulations
The DIFC was the first financial Free Zone in the UAE. It is currently one of only two present in the country and is globally renowned for its facilities and services that it provides. The initial establishment took place in 2004, and it has since grown and developed to become one of the most recognizable free zones in the country.
It offers most of what is ordinary within a free zone such as 100% foreign ownership and 0% income or profit tax. On top of this, DIFC specifically caters to financial entities and is governed by the Dubai Financial Service Authority (DFSA).
As such, it does not generally rely on the laws and regulation found on the UAE or Dubai mainland, as the DFSA produces provisions specific to the free zone.
The New DIFC Companies Law
The new law was enacted by the President of the DIFC, who is also the Vice President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The changes brought about include:
Two new forms of companies that can be set up in the DIFC;
Additions and alterations to the duties of directors within companies;
New ultimate beneficial ownership registration information. Companies must provide this to the DIFC authorities.
The new company types introduced will replace LLCs and share limited companies and are PLC’s, which are public companies; LTD’s which are private entities; and other recognised company forms such as branch companies.
Regarding the director duties, which was quite vague in the past, an expansion of it has been provided. Some of the new responsibilities involve promoting a company’s success, avoiding any conflicts of interest, and taking care and using their best judgement in guiding the business to grow.
The general changes are not on a massive scale, but rather seek to improve upon the already successful foundation provided by the DIFC. The alterations will be well received, especially since it will not demand a great deal from already existing companies and will ensure a more controlled environment within the free zone.