Dubai International Financial Centre

Business setup in Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)

Created to serves as a regional and global financial hub, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) brings East and West together in this unique free zone. Investors and financial companies seeking free zone business setup choose the DIFC for its independent and secure framework, which includes an independent court system based on common law principles. Key global financial entities, including Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank AG, and Standard Chartered have established branches in the DIFC.

For financial institutions interested in reaching emerging markets across the MENA region and Asia, the DIFC’s internationally recognised and independent regulatory scheme ensures peace of mind for free zone company formation in Dubai. The DIFC offers the typical benefits of free zone business setup, including 100% foreign ownership, a tax-friendly environment, and freehold property ownership, as well as an ongoing commitment to its core values: integrity, transparency, and efficiency.

Governing Authorities

The DIFC’s three independent governing authorities help ensure the free zone remains a top choice for financial companies seeking free zone business setup.

DIFC Authority

As the free zone’s central agency, the DIFC Authority oversees strategic development, operations, and administration for the DIFC.

Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)

In keeping with the DIFC’s core values, the Dubai Financial Services Authority grants licenses within the free zone and regulates all financial and non-financial entities within the DIFC.

Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA)

With an internationally recognized and independent court system based on common law principles and its own laws, the DIFC offers complete judicial capabilities for companies who choose the free zone for business setup in UAE. The DIFC’s Dispute Resolution Authority oversees the administration and enforcement functions of the DIFC Courts, the DIFC Wills & Probate Registry, and the DIFC Arbitration Centre.

Regulated Entities

Regulated entities make up the majority of businesses that have chosen the DIFC for free zone company formation. These businesses include (but are not limited to) banks, insurance, and wealth and asset management firms, which require review and approval by DFSA as part of the DIFC’s free zone business setup process. DFSA regularly reviews regulated entities to ensure compliance with regulations, which helps foster a stable and secure financial environment for companies and consumers.

The DIFC also hosts NASDAQ Dubai (formerly the Dubai International Financial Exchange), which lists a number of internationally recognised financial products, including sukuk (Islamic bonds), in accordance with Nasdaq, Inc.’s strict standards.

Non-Regulated Entities

Though the DIFC is a specialised free zone focused on financial business setup in UAE, a complete suite of businesses from supporting industries have also chosen the DIFC for free zone company formation. Supporting industries include legal translation, various non-financial consultancies, HR management, printing, and courier services.

In addition to its role as a financial free zone, the DIFC is a prime residential area in Dubai. Therefore, there are a number of non-regulated entities that cater to enhancing its residents’ experience, such as barbers, salons, pharmacies, clothing retailers, tailors, restaurants, cafes, hotels, art galleries, and many more personal service industries.