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  • 2020 2020

    • 10 December 2020 — Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, to retire at the end of his term

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 10 December 2020: Bryan Stirewalt, the Chief Executive (CE) of the Dubai Financial Services Authority announces his retirement from the DFSA at the end of his term in September 2021.

      Saeb Eigner, the DFSA’s Chair, said: “On behalf of the DFSA Board I sincerely thank Bryan for his dedication, loyalty and leadership of the DFSA especially during this challenging time in 2020. During his tenure the DFSA continued to be a highly respected regulator, adopting global best standards and practices, and providing international engagement with standard setting bodies. Bryan has been with the DFSA since 2008 and wishes to be closer to home and family after being away for 25 years. The Board joins me in expressing its gratitude for Bryan’s efforts over the years and in wishing him the very best for the future. He leaves us as a colleague and friend.”

      Bryan Stirewalt said: “It has been a privilege to work for the DFSA and to live in Dubai. Throughout the years the reputation of the DFSA as a strong, highly respected and fair regulator has been built from the efforts of the Board, Executive and staff. The DFSA team is second to none. I am grateful to have been part of this effort. I will leave the DFSA with a great appreciation for its work and admiration for its people, and wish it the very best in the future.”

      Bryan Stirewalt has served in various functions at the DFSA for more than 12 years, most recently as Chief Executive. As the Chief Executive, Bryan has overall responsibility for the regulation and supervision of some 500 authorized firms including banks, insurers, asset managers and exchanges. He helped drive reforms on the international stage and ensured that the DFSA diligently implemented leading international standards. Of particular note, Bryan has served as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group and Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision for more than six years.

      The DFSA Board will undertake a global search to recruit a successor and ensure an effective transition.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Saeb Eigner was appointed DFSA Chairman in August 2011. Formerly a Senior Manager at ANZ Grindlays Bank PLC, in London, Mr Eigner headed the Middle East and Indian Subcontinent Division of the private bank, which he left to found a private investment company in 1992. Mr Eigner holds a Master’s Degree in Management from London Business School. He is a former Governor of London Business School, Chairman of its Audit and Risk Committees and member of its Estate Committee. He is the co-author of the management books Sand to Silicon (2003), Sand to Silicon - Going Global (2009), and author of Art of the Middle East (2010 and 2015). He holds/ has held a number of Board appointments in banking, strategy, education, regulation and investment.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 29 November 2020 — DFSA Sanctions Upheld against Dr Mubashir Sheikh for Serious Misconduct

      Click here to view the English PDF.

      Click here to view the Arabic PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 29 November 2020:
      The Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT) has upheld enforcement action taken by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) against Dr Mubashir Ahmed Sheikh for serious misconduct including misleading and deceptive behaviour.

      Following a five-day hearing in April of this year, the FMT issued its decision on 20 October upholding the DFSA’s findings and imposing the following sanctions:

      • fine of USD225,000;
      • A direction that Dr Sheikh pay restitution of at least USD644,836 to MAS Clearsight Ltd (MAS) representing the cash he had previously withdrawn in a deceptive way, along with interest;
      • A prohibition from holding office in or being an employee of certain DFSA-regulated entities; and,
      • A restriction from performing any function in connection with the provision of Financial Services in or from the DIFC.

      Dr Sheikh was the Chairman, Senior Executive Officer and majority beneficial owner of MAS, formerly a DFSA Authorised Firm which has been in liquidation since November 2015.

      As publicised in the DFSA’s media release, dated 3 October 2019, the DFSA decided to take action against Dr Sheikh for breaches of DFSA legislation.

      Dr Sheikh disputed the DFSA’s findings and referred the action to the FMT for review. The FMT is a specialist tribunal, operationally independent of the DFSA, which has its own rules of procedure. The FMT conducts a full merits review of DFSA decisions that are referred to it and determines the appropriate action for the DFSA to take.

      The restitution direction is the first ever imposed on an individual, and the fine is the highest imposed on an individual. In addition, the FMT ordered Dr Sheikh to pay USD15,000 towards the DFSA’s costs.

      The FMT imposed the action on Dr Sheikh because it found that he:

      • demonstrated a lack of integrity by knowingly acting dishonestly and deceptively;
      • knowingly provided false, misleading or deceptive information to the DFSA; and
      • knowingly caused MAS to breach the DFSA’s prudential rules.

      The key facts and findings of the case include:

      • In early 2015, Dr Sheikh’s company (MAS) was in an increasingly weak financial position, and required to report its financial position to the DFSA on a monthly basis, in particular as to whether it was maintaining its regulatory capital of USD600,000;
      • In May and June 2015, Dr Sheikh withdrew over USD512,000 in cash from MAS’ bank account, depleting almost all of its liquid assets, and causing MAS to breach its regulatory capital requirement;
      • By concealing his cash withdrawals and knowingly providing false information about them within MAS, Dr Sheikh knowingly caused MAS, via its Finance Officer, to misreport its regulatory capital position to the DFSA;
      • When the DFSA became aware of the true position in June 2015, it promptly suspended MAS’ licence, to protect users of financial services in the DIFC. Subsequently in 2015, MAS entered into liquidation with significant outstanding debts including unpaid employee entitlements;
      • In an attempt to defend his misconduct, Dr Sheikh repeatedly, over the course of several years, provided the DFSA and the FMT with an elaborate and improbable version of events. This included false claims that Dr Sheikh withdrew the cash initially to pay investors as part of an investment deal, and later when the deal fell through to pay other legitimate debtors, which claims he tried to support with fabricated documents and false witness testimony.

      In its decision, the FMT described Dr Sheikh’s misconduct as a “dishonest set of steps aggravated by devious acts to try to conceal and cover up over a long period”. The FMT also found that Dr Sheikh knew full well that his withdrawals had been causing MAS to breach its regulatory capital requirement “because his story of the deal is a lie”.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: "The DFSA has zero tolerance for individuals who deliberately mislead and attempt to deceive the regulator, particularly where an individual takes such elaborate and dishonest steps to conceal their conduct. Such individuals will be held accountable to the fullest degree of the law, and they have no place in the DIFC. The DFSA will also require, where appropriate, wrongdoers to compensate those who have suffered losses arising from their misconduct. Individuals in control of financial services firms must manage the firm’s finances responsibly, in the interest of all stakeholders including employees, and act with integrity at all times."

      The FMT refused Dr Sheikh permission to appeal its decision to the DIFC Court. Dr Sheikh did not file an application to the DIFC Courts for permission to appeal against the FMT’s decision and, therefore, the FMT’s decision is final.

      The FMT's decision can be found on the FMT section of the DFSA website, and a copy of it can be accessed via this link. Information about pending FMT matters, including details of any public hearings, can be found via the same link.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, money services, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies to regulated firms and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of Supervision. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 11 November 2020 — Global Financial Innovation Network invites firms to participate in cross-border testing

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 11 November 2020: The Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) – a group of over 60 international organisations committed to supporting financial innovation in the interests of consumers – is inviting applications from firms to test innovative financial products, services, business models or regulatory technology across more than one country or jurisdiction.

      Twenty-three regulators across five continents are participating in this initiative, which builds on lessons learned following the GFIN’s 2019 cross-border testing pilot.

      Cross-border testing 1.0

      To facilitate the application process, the GFIN has developed several tools and solutions to improve the cross-border testing framework for a new cohort of firms, including:

      • a cross-border testing FAQs to help firms understand the process;
      • an evolved ‘Regulatory Compendium’ clarifying the remit and interests of participating regulators and the types of innovation services available; and
      • an extension of the application window to 9 weeks to allow firms more time to consider and prepare their applications.

      Firms interested in applying to take part in cross-border testing should review the list of participating regulators and their respective Regulatory Compendiums and submit an application via the GFIN website before the 31 December deadline.

      Participating Regulators

      The following regulators are participating in cross-border testing.

        Regulatory Authority Jurisdiction
      1 Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) Australia
      2 Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Bahrain
      3 Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA) Bermuda
      4 Alberta Securities Commission (ASC) Alberta, Canada
      5 British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC) British Columbia, Canada
      6 Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) Ontario, Canada
      7 Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) Quebec, Canada
      8 Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) Guernsey
      9 Hong Kong Insurance Authority (IA) Hong Kong
      10 Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Hong Kong
      11 Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (HKSFC) Hong Kong
      12 Magyar Nemzeti Bank (Central Bank of Hungary, MNB) Hungary
      13 Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) Jersey
      14 Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA) Kazakhstan
      15 Capital Markets Authority (CMA, Kenya) Kenya
      16 Bank of Lithuania (LB) Lithuania
      17 Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Singapore
      18 Financial Services Commission Taiwan (FSC Taiwan) Taiwan
      19 Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
      20 Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Dubai, United Arab Emirates
      21 Central Bank United Arab Emirates (CB UAE) United Arab Emirates
      22 Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) United Kingdom
      23 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) United States of America

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, money services, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies to regulated firms and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

    • 4 November 2020 — DFSA Enforcement Action against Al Masah Upheld

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 4 November 2020: The Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT), a specialist independent tribunal, has affirmed a decision by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to take enforcement action against two firms and three individuals for unauthorised financial services activities and making misleading and deceptive statements.

      The firms are Al Masah Capital Limited, a Cayman Islands registered company now in liquidation and Al Masah Capital Management Limited, a DFSA Authorised firm, also now in liquidation. The three individuals are Shailesh Dash, Nrupaditya Singhdeo and Don Lim Jung Chiat.

      Following an eight day hearing earlier this year, the FMT issued its decision on 27 October in which it upheld the DFSA’s decisions as set out in its Decision Notices of 25 September 2019 as publicised in the DFSA’s Media Release of 11 May this year.

      The FMT imposed financial penalties on all five:

      • USD 3,000,000 (AED 11,010,000) on Al Masah Capital (AMC);
      • USD 1,500,000 (AED 5,505,000) on Al Masah Capital Management Limited (AMCML);
      • USD 225,000 (AED 825,750) on Mr Dash;
      • USD 175,000 (AED 642,250) on Mr Singhdeo; and
      • USD 150,000 (AED 550,500) on Mr Lim.

      The FMT sanctions are the same as those imposed by the DFSA, except for the fine for Mr Singhdeo, which the FMT increased by USD 25,000. This was because the FMT saw Mr Singhdeo’s responsibility for the misconduct as somewhat greater than that reflected in the fine imposed by the DFSA.

      The FMT also upheld the DFSA’s decision to prohibit all three individuals and concluded they are not fit and proper to perform any function in connection with financial services in or from the DIFC. The FMT also ordered them to pay the DFSA’s costs of the proceedings.

      The case involved complicated structures in which investors bought shares in companies that then bought shares in other businesses. However, the FMT agreed with the DFSA that the arrangements were investments in funds. The FMT took the view that these were managed by AMC, the Cayman registered entity, from within the DIFC when it was not authorised to do so.

      The FMT found that the two companies and three individuals had concealed from potential investors the payment of placement fees to AMC. In particular, annual reports and audited financial statements had been altered to remove the full extent of fees that had been paid. The FMT noted that the misrepresentation of fees was intentional and deceptive, and the altered documents were used as marketing materials to persuade potential investors to invest, and so any misleading statement therein would be a breach of the prohibition on misleading and deceptive conduct.

      The FMT found that the two companies had committed breaches and that the three individuals were knowingly involved in the contraventions. Mr Dash was well aware that the investments acted much like Funds and tried to distance himself from this by claiming not to have any active roles in the companies. However, the FMT concluded he did not give accurate evidence about his role and found his claims “wholly unconvincing”. It was clear to the FMT that Mr Dash and his colleagues did not want the placement fees disclosed. The FMT found Mr Dash’s knowing concern and involvement demonstrated a lack of integrity calculated to facilitate the misleading of existing and potential investors. The FMT reached similar conclusions in respect of Mr Singhdeo and found that both of them breached their obligations as Authorised Individuals.

      The FMT also found that Mr Singhdeo and Mr Lim were knowingly involved in altering a copy of a bank statement to conceal placement fees. It found the forgery was intended to mislead or deceive but could not be sure what the purpose was, but it seemed to the FMT that they were “seeking to cover their tracks” and was obviously in connection with a Financial Product or Service.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: "Firms and the individuals in charge have a responsibility to ensure that all financial services activities in or from the DIFC are appropriately authorised and carried out properly. The DFSA is particularly concerned by attempts to use legal structures to avoid regulation when the substance of the activity is a financial service conducted in or from the DIFC. This matter also shows the extent to which the DFSA will take action to ensure investors are treated fairly and are not misled by misrepresentation, concealment or omission. Protection of direct and indirect users of DIFC financial services is a key priority of the DFSA. The DFSA will also take appropriate action against individuals involved in the running of companies that breach the DFSA’s rules."

      The FMT's decision can be found on the FMT section of the DFSA website, and a copy of it can be accessed via this link.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of Supervision. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

      The Financial Markets Tribunal is established under the Regulatory Law (DIFC Law No. 1 of 2004). It hears and determines References and Regulatory Proceedings. Please refer to this section of the DFSA website for further information.

    • 21 October 2020 — Dubai Financial Services Authority to host second RegTech Live event

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 21 October 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) will be hosting a virtual event on the 10th and 11th of November. The event, “RegTech Live: Driving Compliance through Innovation”, will be held in partnership with the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA).

      The event, the second of its kind for this year, builds on the topics discussed in June and reinforces the DFSA’s goal of fostering innovation in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), in line with Dubai’s National Innovation Strategy of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

      The two-day event will include keynote and panel discussions from industry experts including representatives from DIFC and DFSA speaking about driving efficiency in risk management through automation; the impact of COVID-19 on regulatory compliance; digital transformation in the UAE; and mitigating risks in payments. There will also be demonstrations from regulatory technology providers who offer sanctions and transaction monitoring, as well as “e-KYC” solutions and behavioural analytics.

      You will also hear from the DFSA about their views on innovation in financial services, and an update on the “Future of Finance” from the DIFCA.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: “We were very pleased with the first RegTech Live event, which provided a platform to host important discussions on emerging regulatory technologies. We look forward to continuing the momentum with this second event.”

      Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, said: “DIFC is home of the region’s largest and most enabling FinTech and RegTech environment so we are pleased to collaborate with the DFSA on a second edition of their RegTech event series. The first was very successful and we will use this opportunity to continue exploring how the financial sector can leverage technology to drive innovation, deliver solutions and help build a more robust regulatory environment to shape the future of finance.”

      To register for the Day One of the event please click here and to register for Day Two of the event please click here.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 5 October 2020 — UAE regulators and financial markets participate in IOSCO’s World Investor Week

      Click here to view English PDF.

      Click here to view Arabic PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 5 October 2020: Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), Dubai Financial Market (DFM), Dubai Gold and Commodities Exchange (DGCX), Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), ADGM Academy, Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), Nasdaq Dubai, and CFA Institute, are all participating in the events held by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) on October 4 as part of World Investor Week 2020.

      Being an active member of the IOSCO, the SCA was invited to take part in this week’s events, which will bring together supervisory authorities representing at least 70 IOSCO member states.

      The events that will take place this year aim to promote financial literacy among investors, highlight the importance of financial planning in making informed investment decisions, and facilitate discussions on the impacts of COVID-19 on financial markets across the globe.

      The World Investor Week 2020 campaign is intended to promote investor education and to safeguard investor rights by combining the efforts of all bodies overseeing the securities and commodities sector within IOSCO member states, and by utilizing communication and media channels to enhance investor awareness and highlight the role supervisory authorities and financial markets play in protecting investors.

      The events held as part of the campaign will feature an interactive webinar on the importance of financial planning in making informed investment decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This webinar will bring together representatives from the SCA, ADX, and DFM, and CFA Institute, as well as financial experts, analysts, and economic journalists. A forum will also be jointly hosted with the Skyline University College to discuss the conditions that have prevailed across the world’s financial markets amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

      As part of this week’s events, ADGM Academy will host an interactive session, titled “Integrity at Work: The Value of Integrity on Investor Protection” on Wednesday October 7. It will also host another session on the role of Islamic finance in enhancing investor protection and raising investor awareness on Thursday, October 8. The DFSA will be issuing guidance to investors on how to manage their money and finances in a virtual world. This will include advice about ensuring they are dealing with a regulated financial firm, providing a heads-up on how they will interact with firms including the use of video conferencing and the use of digital documents for identification purposes and for contractual agreements on Wednesday, October 7.

      ADX and DFM will present their latest developments and recent achievements that will help enhance performance and improve the services offered to investors. These include ADX’s digital platform SAHMI for which it won the award of Best Trading Innovation Excellence - GCC 2020 from Capital Finance International “CFI”, in addition to a move by DFM to add derivatives to the list of tradable financial instruments.

      The events will also include intensive campaigns and awareness-raising activities, including a social media contest and daily awareness tips on newspapers and social media through October 4-6.

      By participating in these events, the SCA, ADX, DFM, DGCX, ADGM, and DFSA all aspire to bolster the country’s image and status as a major financial hub across in the region and the world in line with the UAE vision to become among the world’s best countries.

      The IOSCO, established in 1983, is recognized as the global standard-setter for the securities sector. Its members include securities regulators, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, stock exchanges, and various financial and monetary institutions. It comprise over 200 members, of which 114 are securities regulators. Its member states regulate more than 95 percent of securities markets across the globe. IOSCO strives to foster cooperation among its members and to develop supervisory standards for securities exchanges to ensure highly transparent and efficient trading, while facilitate the exchange of information and expertise, and developing uniform supervisory standards.

      It also seeks to provide protection to investors and to enhance investor confidence in the integrity of securities exchanges by promoting cooperation to curb unsound practices and to oversee exchanges and brokers. IOSCO works to enhance coordination among its members to develop, implement, and enforce internationally-recognized standards, in addition to facilitating the exchange of information at the regional and international levels to help improve financial markets, while strengthen the market infrastructure, and developing proper regulations.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

    • 28 July 2020 — DFSA s institutions to increased risk of cyberattacks

      Click here to view the PDF.

      ➢ DFSA’s Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) gaining more traction

      Dubai, UAE, 28 July 2020: Since the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) launched the DFSA Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) in January, over 130 DFSA Authorised Firms and DIFC registered companies have joined the platform. The platform has provided members with information and technical indicators on a multitude of cyber threats, with an average of 160 new threats per week.

      Since launching, TIP has collected information on threat actors targeting the MENA region, especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The most prominent threats affecting the finance sector fall into three primary categories. The categories include: (1) the direct targeting of banking customers in order to obtain credit card data and banking credentials; (2) ransomware attacks; and, (3) the targeting of the finance sector by cybercriminal syndicates.

      The DFSA has observed an increase in attacks leveraging known and new malware and a soaring number of newly registered malicious domains referencing COVID-19 since March. At the same time, many financial institutions were forced to rapidly implement remote working practices at an unprecedented scale. Consequently, there was an increase in attacks targeting remote access and teleworking infrastructure in the hope of exploiting hastily deployed systems.

      Phishing attacks through email, SMS, and other messaging applications remain a common attack vector targeting financial institutions and their customers. Detailed technical information on recent cyber threats that can affect firms operating in the DIFC and around the world can be found on TIP.

      Waleed Saeed Al Awadhi, Chief Operating Officer of the DFSA, said: “We strongly encourage firms to cooperate and share information about cyber threats. Cyber security is a shared responsibility, which we believe can best be addressed through public-private partnerships. We understand that our involvement with firms and other regulatory and professional associations is essential for building cyber security awareness among our stakeholders. We take, and will continue to take, a proactive approach to sharing knowledge, educating stakeholders and supporting companies in building their cyber resilience in line with the National Cybersecurity Strategy.”

      In the context of cybersecurity, people tend be any organisation’s weakest link and cybercriminals design their campaigns using a variety of social engineering techniques. IT departments may implement a range of technical controls and systems to reduce the risk of a successful cyberattack. However, these alone may not be effective without sufficient employee cyber awareness. Therefore, education to increase the cyber
      awareness is one of the most important methods to reduce the risk of falling victim to a cyberattack.

      The DFSA launched TIP on 21 January 2020. It is the first financial services regulator-led cyber threat intelligence platform in the region, delivered in collaboration with leading government entities the Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC), the National Computer Emergency Response Team for the UAE (aeCERT) and the Computer Incident Response Center Luxembourg (CIRCL). The independent cybersecurity specialist firm, Help AG, was appointed to manage and operate the platform and cybersecurity experts Kaspersky, Palo Alto Networks, and Recorded Future were engaged to contribute to TIP. The platform is available at no cost to all DFSA authorised and DIFC registered companies. DFSA authorised firms can register for TIP via the DFSA ePortal and DIFC registered companies can register through the DIFC ePortal.

      As part of the DFSA’s broader efforts to elevate cybersecurity maturity within the DIFC, the DFSA hosted the “DFSA Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform Workshop” for TIP members in April. Help AG conducted the session and provided an overview of threat intelligence, demonstrated how to use and contribute to TIP, and showcased integration methods for advanced users. The DFSA intends to host more of these workshops as well as roundtable discussions. All DIFC companies are encouraged to register with TIP to ensure they receive timely threat information and to join in the fight against cybercrime.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Waleed Saeed Al Awadhi, Chief Operating Officer joined the DFSA in March 2013. He has over 18 years of international and local experience in leadership, strategy and innovation across financial services, Islamic banking, real estate, and media and telecommunications. Mr Al Awadhi is responsible for operational excellence at the DFSA by driving the development and implementation of world-class, innovative solutions and smart initiatives. Mr Al Awadhi represents the DFSA on strategic initiatives with Government entities and with local and regional regulators and international standard-setters. He is a member of the United Arab Emirates National Committee for Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Illegal Organisations (NAMLCFTC) and the Dubai International Communication Committee (DICC) - a Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO) initiative. He is also an international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Assessor for Mutual Evaluation. He is a member of the Global Future Council on Financial and Monetary Systems, and he sits on the Board of CPI Financial. He plays a leading role in building UAE National capabilities both at the DFSA and within broader society. He also sits on the Board of CPI Financial. Previously, Mr Al Awadhi headed the Marketing and Communication division at Abu Dhabi Media, Priority Banking at Emirates Islamic Bank, and was Deputy Head of Retail Banking and Deputy Chief Marketing Officer at Dubai Bank, where he also managed Royal Banking and Wealth Management, Branding, Marketing and Communications. Prior to this, he was the Global Director of Marketing and Sales at Sama Dubai - a member company of Dubai Holding - where he was responsible for over 20 international markets. Mr Al Awadhi is an alumnus of Harvard Business School, where he completed the General Management Program. He has a Master of Law with a double major in Arbitration & Dispute Resolution and Financial Crimes and Money Laundering, and a Bachelor degree in Applied Business Science. In 2016 Mr Al Awadhi published his first book entitled ‘The Sustainability of Family Businesses in the United Arab Emirates – A Legal and Operational Perspective for Best Practice.’

    • 12 July 2020 — Maktoum bin Mohammed issues Decision appointing DFSA Board

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Saeb Eigner reappointed as Chairman of Board; Fadel Al Ali appointed as Deputy Chairman

       

      Government of Dubai Media Office – 12 July 2020: His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and President of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), issued a Decision reappointing Saeb Eigner as Chairman of the Dubai Financial Services Authority’s (DFSA) Board of Directors.

      His Highness also appointed Fadel Al Ali as Deputy Chairman of the Board and Abdul Wahid Al Ulama, Andrew Spindler, Apurv Bagri, Charles Flint QC, Swee Lian Teo, Julie Dickson and Sabine Lautenschläger as Board members.

      HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed said that Dubai has strengthened its position as one of the world’s most prominent financial and business centres, guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The emirate’s diversified economy, flexible financial policies, openness to global markets and ability to meet the requirements of major financial institutions have been key drivers of Dubai’s growth as a global financial centre, he added.

      “As we look to strengthen Dubai’s position at the forefront of the global financial industry, the expertise of the DFSA Board of Directors, which brings together leading figures with illustrious achievements in the financial sector, will support us in consolidating growth. We look forward to working closely with the Board to support the development of the regulatory framework in order to accelerate the financial sector’s growth,” His Highness further said.

      Saeb Eigner, Chairman of the DFSA, said: “The experience and active engagement of this highly effective and experienced Board is testament to the DIFC’s growing status among international financial centres. The decision by Dubai’s leadership to bring in the best people from a variety of international geographies is typically far-sighted. I am pleased to welcome Fadel Al Ali, a seasoned commercial member, in his new capacity as deputy chairman, as well as Sabine Lautenschläger, a new member who brings excellent experience at very senior level in the European regulatory sphere. Our board membership covers the US, UK, Continental Europe and Asia, including China and India. We are fortunate and enormously grateful for the strong support and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as the DFSA develops as a leading respected international regulator, instilling trust and confidence in the world’s leading financial institutions, to come to and expand in the DIFC.”

      The Board Members have a wealth of senior-level regulatory, legal, financial market and business experience in a wide range of international financial centres, as well as the UAE. Their participation in setting the trajectory and policies of the DFSA and overseeing its operations contributes greatly to further strengthening DIFC’s growth as a global financial centre.

    • 6 July 2020 — DFSA’s 2020 Summer Innovation Testing Licence Programme Accepts Largest Number of Innovative Firms to Date

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 6 July 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is pleased to announce that it has accepted 16 firms into its 2020 Summer Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) Cohort. The ITL Programme provides a unique environment that helps firms to test innovative solutions in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The ITL provides these firms with temporary flexibility to test and develop concepts within a restricted regulatory environment. The 16 firms can now begin the process to apply for an ITL, with the first batch of licences expected to be issued in October. A total of 34 firms applied for the Summer Cohort, the largest applicant pool to date. This is a clear indication that the DIFC is strengthening its al strong position as the financial centre of choice for financial services innovation.

      In April 2020, the DFSA announced it was accepting applications from international technologydriven companies. Firms were required to provide a clear explanation of their planned business model and their proposed innovative product or service. Of the 16 firms accepted into the upcoming Cohort, 13 propose to provide or arrange money services, which falls under the new regime the DFSA launched in April 2020. The types of business models accepted include payroll solution applications, payments and cross-border money transfer platforms, E-wallet providers and AI-supported wealth management platforms. Many of these business models are focused on facilitating financial inclusion and literacy by serving low-income migrant workers.

      Since its 2017 launch, 82 companies have applied to the ITL Programme, of which 38 companies have been accepted into the Programme. Many of these companies started as participants in the DIFC FinTech Hive’s Scale-up and Accelerator programmes. To date, the Scale-up and Accelerator programmes have accepted 70 companies, and 140 start-up companies have utilised the Hive’s co-working space.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, money services, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies to regulated firms and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of Supervision. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

      About DIFC FinTech Hive

      The DIFC FinTech Hive is the first and largest financial technology accelerator in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. The programme provides start-ups from all around the world the opportunity to engage with world-renowned financial institutions, insurance firms and strategic partners to test and develop technologies that address the sector’s ongoing challenges.
      The accelerator offers its participants a wide-range of benefits accessible through DIFC’s dynamic FinTech ecosystem, including cost-effective licensing solutions, fit-for-purpose regulation, an interactive and collaborative workspace, access to DIFC’s USD $100 million FinTech Fund, and the largest financial community in the region – today comprising over 2,400 active companies, of which over 160 are FinTech sector-related.
      Through its network of financial, insurance, strategic, digital, and legal partners, the accelerator welcomes start-ups that cover the emerging trends of FinTech, InsurTech, RegTech and Islamic FinTech, and supports both early stage entrepreneurs as well as those in their growth period. Today, DIFC FinTech Hive’s network of international partnerships extends across FinTech hubs in various parts of the world, including New York, London, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Mumbai, Paris, Brussels, Holland, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

    • 24 June 2020 — DFSA Publishes Cyber Thematic Review Report

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 24 June 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today published a thematic review report on cyber risks. The Report highlights a number of important opportunities for operational risk management practices of Firms operating in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

      Launched in July 2019 with an objective of identifying the overall maturity level of cyber security programmes of Firms authorised by DFSA, the Cyber Thematic Review assessed cyber risk governance frameworks, cyber hygiene practices, and resilience (incident preparedness) programmes. The Review was undertaken in two phases, with the first phase consisting of a questionnaire seeking high-level information on each Authorised Firm’s cyber security practices, and the second phase consisting of desk-based reviews and onsite visits to selected Firms representing a range of business models and financial services activities.

      The Review found that a significant number of firms had either not implemented a comprehensive cyber risk management framework or performed only a limited cyber risk assessment. Assessing how firms have implemented cyber hygiene practices, the findings also show that a number of firms, particularly smaller firms, did not enforce encryption on devices to protect sensitive data. The most significant finding on firms resilience towards cyber-attacks show that at least half did not have a continuous identification and response capability for managing cyber incidents. Although not part of this review, the new remote working protocols established in 2020 also bring new cyber risk vulnerabilities that need to be addressed by the financial services industry. The Report further summarises these key findings and observations together with the DFSA’s expectations and examples of best practices of cyber risk management. It focuses on cyber risk fundamentals which are relevant to each Authorised Firm, regardless of its size and business model.

      Chief Executive of the DFSA, Mr Bryan Stirewalt remarked: “Enhancing the cyber resilience of our regulated population is one of our key priorities. Over the past two years, we have steadily increased our supervisory focus on cyber risk. We are constantly engaging with Firms in the DIFC to ensure they have sufficient safeguards in place to shield against cyber threat as well as effective processes to respond to and recover from a successful attack. Our focus also includes support for development of industry level guidance on cyber risk management practices. These intensified efforts support the UAE Cybersecurity Strategy and the Dubai Cybersecurity Strategy and are designed to strengthen the cybersecurity environment in the DIFC.”

      As part of its efforts to strengthen cyber resilience in the DIFC, the DFSA launched its cyber threat intelligence platform (DFSA TIP) in January 2020. DFSA TIP aims to facilitate the development of a community of information sharing amongst financial services firms.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 15 June 2020 — DFSA and Deloitte Middle East publish discussion paper on Digital Assets Custody

      Click here to view the PDF.

      ➢ DFSA’s Innovation Strategy contributes to the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) Future of Finance agenda
      ➢ Paper aims to further support SMART Dubai, the Dubai Blockchain Council and the UAE National Innovation Strategy

      Dubai, UAE, 15 June 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) along with Deloitte Middle East published “A Market Overview of Custody for Digital Assets” with the aim of highlighting the importance of digital asset custodians and the key role they play in the future of digital asset adoption. The paper aims to frame the current digital custody landscape, the market solutions currently available, and the challenges and uncertainties currently faced by the industry.

      Peter Smith, Head of Strategy, Policy and Risk for the DFSA said “The DFSA is pleased to engage with Deloitte on this important topic and bring the role of custody in the fast-evolving world of digital assets to the attention of market participants. Developments in custody will further drive the adoption of digital assets. The DFSA recognises that engagement with market participants is essential to ensure that this evolution occurs in a way that maintains the protection of client assets and market integrity.”

      Nipun Srivastava, Director of Financial Services Regulatory Advisory at Deloitte Middle East said “Over the last few years digital assets have emerged as an attractive investment opportunity for retail and institutional investors. However, its popularity and increasing value has led to a number of instances where investors were duped of their assets, hence the need for safe and secure custodial services. Deloitte engaged with the DFSA to help raise awareness of the topic with the goal of facilitating the responsible growth of the sector and enable take up of digital assets by the investor community through establishment of robust custodial services.”

      This discussion paper forms part of DFSA’s innovation strategy, which contributes to the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) Future of Finance agenda and to government-level initiatives including SMART Dubai, the Dubai Blockchain Council and the UAE National Innovation Strategy. The paper provides responses to some of the questions about digital assets and their custody.

      The paper is available here.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

    • 27 May 2020 — Dubai Financial Services Authority to Host RegTech Live Event

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 27 May 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) will be hosting a virtual event on the 2nd and 3rd of June. The event, RegTech Live: Driving Compliance Through Innovation, will be held in partnership with the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA).

      The DFSA wishes to promote and foster innovation in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), in line with Dubai’s National Innovation Strategy of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

      The event will include keynote and panel discussions from industry experts from the DFSA and the DIFC Authority, CCL, Comply Advantage, Onfido, Roland Berger, Simmons & Simmons and Bank of Singapore, highlighting the latest RegTech trends and practical measures for the advancement of the financial services ecosystem.

      Attendees will also have the opportunity to observe innovation in regulatory compliance technology through demonstrations from providers of e-KYC, digital on-boarding and transaction monitoring solutions. These will include Alethia, Azakaw, Fenergo, Norbloc, Onfido, Quantexa, SAS and 3Mindz.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: “Innovation is a key area of focus for the DFSA and the DIFC. We believe that innovation is very much the future of finance, therefore facilitating and encouraging the development of new technologies is a priority for the sector. Through this event, we hope that participants gain insights and knowledge from our expert industry panelists and have a wider understanding on how technology plays an important role in regulatory frameworks.”

      Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority, said: “We are pleased to collaborate on this important event with the DFSA which will explore how the financial sector can leverage technology to drive innovation, deliver solutions and help build a more robust regulatory environment. Being able to bring together members of the Centre’s ecosystem of RegTech practitioners, FinTech start-ups, industry experts and solution providers for this virtual environment is a powerful example of how they and DIFC are shaping the future of finance together.”

      To register for the event please click here

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 11 May 2020 — DFSA Action against Two Firms and Three Individuals Referred to Financial Markets Tribunal

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 11 May 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has today published Decision Notices in respect of two firms (Al Masah Capital Limited and Al Masah Capital Management Limited) and three individuals (Shailesh Dash, Nrupaditya Singhdeo and Don Lim Jung Chiat).

      The firms and individuals dispute the DFSA’s findings and have referred the Decision Notices to the Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT) where the parties will present their respective cases. The DFSA’s decisions are therefore provisional and reflect the DFSA’s belief as to what occurred and how it considers their conduct should be characterised. The FMT will determine what, if any, is the appropriate action for the DFSA to take, and will remit the matter to the DFSA with such directions as the FMT considers appropriate to give effect to its determination.

      On 25 September 2019, the DFSA decided to take enforcement action against Al Masah Capital, Al Masah Capital Management, Shailesh Dash, Nrupaditya Singhdeo and Don Lim Jung Chiat for breaches of DFSA legislation between August 2010 and June 2016. The Decision Notices outline the reasons for the DFSA’s decision to take the following action:

      Firm / Individual
       
      Sanction
       
      Al Masah Capital Limited
       
      USD 3,000,000 (AED 11,010,000) fine
       
      Al Masah Capital Management Limited
       
      USD 1,500,000 (AED 5,505,000) fine
       
      Shailesh Dash
       
      USD 225,000 (AED 825,750) fine and prohibition
       
      Nruapaditya Singhdeo
       
      USD 150,000 (AED 550,500) fine and prohibition
       
      Don Lim Jung Chiat
       
      USD 150,000 (AED 550,500) fine and prohibition
       

      In relation to Al Masah Capital Limited, a Cayman Islands registered company, which was not authorised to carry on any Financial Services in or from the DIFC, the DFSA found that it had breached DIFC legislation by:

      • carrying on unauthorised Financial Services in the DIFC, namely Managing a Collective Investment Fund and Arranging Deals in Investments;
      • making misleading or deceptive statements as to fees in documents relating to offers of units in funds managed by Al Masah Capital Limited;
      • making unauthorised financial promotions and offers of units of funds in or from the DIFC.

      In relation to Al Masah Capital Management Limited, a firm that was authorised by the DFSA to conduct financial services business in or from the DIFC, the DFSA found that it had:

      • made misleading or deceptive statements as to fees in documents relating to offers of units in funds managed by Al Masah Capital Limited;
      • failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the information about fees contained in marketing materials and subscription forms was clear, fair and not misleading.

      In relation to the three individuals, the DFSA found that they were knowingly concerned in the alleged contraventions by the two firms. Additionally, as Mr Dash and Mr Singhdeo were Authorised Individuals at the time the alleged misconduct occurred, the DFSA also found that they failed to act with the standard of integrity required of them in their roles.

      The DFSA further found that Mr Singhdeo and Mr Lim engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct by being knowingly involved in the alteration of a bank statement to conceal the payment of fees into a bank account.

      The DFSA decided to take action against the two firms and three individuals, including prohibiting Mr Dash, Mr Singhdeo and Mr Lim from performing any function in connection with provision of Financial Services in or from the DIFC, in order to maintain the integrity and reputation of the DIFC, and to protect direct and indirect users of the financial services industry in the DIFC. The DFSA also imposed financial penalties on each of them.

      Copies of the DFSA’s Decision Notices can be found on the DFSA website under Regulatory Actions: https://www.dfsa.ae/en/What-We-Do/Enforcement#Regulatory-Actions

      The DFSA does not intend to make any further public comment until the FMT’s review is complete, except as necessary to correct any inaccuracies. Information about pending FMT matters, including details of any public hearings, can be found on the FMT section of the DFSA website: https://www.dfsa.ae/en/About-Us/Our-Structure#Financial-Market-Tribunal

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

    • 23 April 2020 — DFSA Fines La Tresorerie for Serious Failings

      Click here to view the PDF.

      ➢ Serious and deliberate wrongdoing breached the prohibition against providing money services in or from the DIFC
      ➢ Firm’s activities increased risks of money laundering and endangered client money protections

      Dubai, UAE, 23 April 2020: Following a lengthy investigation process, which commenced in 2017, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today announced that it has fined La Tresorerie Limited (La Tresorerie) USD 612,790 (approximately AED 2,250,800), including USD 261,154 (approximately AED 960,000) disgorgement of the financial benefit La Tresorerie received, plus interest.

      The DFSA has taken this action against La Tresorerie (a DFSA Authorised Firm) due to multiple, serious breaches of DFSA legislation, mainly arising from conducting an illegal service that provided physical cash to its clients (Illegal Cash Service). The DFSA has taken this action to penalise La Tresorerie, deter others and protect clients.

      The Illegal Cash Service was in systematic operation for almost two years, between February 2015 and January 2017, and was carried on with the knowledge and involvement of La Tresorerie’s senior management at that time. The current senior management of La Tresorerie were not involved in the Illegal Cash Service and reported it to the DFSA upon discovering it.

      In particular, the Illegal Cash Service:

      • involved the use of false invoices and transferring client money to unregulated companies outside of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC);
      • involved the transportation of large amounts of physical cash from the UAE to a foreign country, which is associated with a high risk of money laundering;
      • led to La Tresorerie misleading its custodian and a bank about the nature and purpose of certain transactions, when AML due diligence enquiries were made; and,
      • demonstrated a fundamental failure of La Tresorerie to conduct its business with integrity.

      The DFSA’s investigation found more than 100 transactions carried out as part of the Illegal Cash Service, ranging in value from € 2,560 (approximately AED 10,000) to € 500,000 (AED 2,000,000). The total amount of physical cash provided by La Tresorerie was calculated to be the equivalent of over USD 7.3 million (AED 27,000,000) and the fees the firm received were the equivalent of almost USD 220,000 (AED 800,000). An amount equivalent to these fees, plus interest of over USD 41,000 (AED 150,000), is included in the financial penalty imposed on La Tresorerie as disgorgement.

      The DFSA was able to reach a settlement with La Tresorerie in respect of the findings of its investigation and the amount of penalty. This settlement was, however, reached after the period that the DFSA had set for a settlement discount to be available. If settlement had been achieved during that period, La Tresorerie would have been able to obtain a 30% discount to the fine imposed. Before taking any action to enforce payment of the fine, the DFSA will consider the firm’s circumstances at that time and the corresponding implications of enforcing the fines for the firm’s clients.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: "The illegal cash service provided by La Tresorerie was a serious breach of DFSA rules, further compounded by the senior management’s attempts to disguise this business activity. This activity demonstrated a clear lack of integrity, and opened the firm up to a high risk of money laundering, as well as placing client money at undue risk. We will take strong action against any firm or individual who demonstrates such a risk to the DIFC. ”

      A copy of the DFSA's Decision Notices can be found in the Regulatory Actions section of the DFSA website.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 22 April 2020 — DFSA welcomes Regulatory Sandbox applications for its 2020 Summer Cohort

      Click here to view the PDF.

      ➢ DFSA supports the future of finance through innovation and Dubai’s SMART Initiatives

      Dubai, UAE, 22 April 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) invites applications from local and international companies to apply to join its 2020 Summer Cohort. Successful cohort applicants will be invited to apply to enter the DFSA’s version of the regulatory sandbox, known as the Innovation Testing Licence (ITL).

      The DFSA welcomes innovative technology-driven companies to apply through its website between 1 and 31 May. Firms must provide a clear explanation of their planned business model and the proposed innovative product or service. We will announce applicants accepted into the Summer Cohort on 16 June, after which we will invite them to submit an ITL application by 26 July.

      Since the inception of the ITL in 2017, the DFSA has accepted 25 companies into the cohort process, representing diverse business models from across the world. These have included digital sukuk issuances using smart contracts, tokenised securities and debt offerings, tokenised crowdfunding, SME lending platforms, and the use of AI in credit analysis. The ITL enables companies to test innovative solutions in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). It provides companies with temporary relaxation of a limited set of regulatory requirements to test and develop concepts within the test environment.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: “Since the ITL was inaugurated in 2017, it has successfully enabled companies to test innovative ideas in a controlled regulatory environment and deepened the DFSA’s understanding of the benefits and risks that arise from new technologies, while maintaining the safety of the financial system. The DFSA is very proud of its Innovation Programme, which aims to enable and support innovation in the DIFC and pave the way for the future of finance in the Centre. This feeds into our support of wider initiatives within the Centre, such as the DIFC Hive and Accelerator Programme, and also aligns with government-level initiatives including SMART Dubai, the Dubai 2021 Plan and the National Innovation Strategy.”

      We provide further details regarding the ITL and cohort applications in the FinTech section of the DFSA’s website. Firms are encouraged to apply at the earliest opportunity.

      For more information about the cohort application process or the ITL, kindly email: Fintech@dfsa.ae 

      - Ends - 

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes: 

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. 

    • 7 April 2020 — DFSA Takes Measures to Support its Financial Community

      Click here to view the PDF.

      DFSA providing a series of significant regulatory relief measures
      ➢ Measures allow financial services firms to focus attention on protecting the wellbeing of staff and helping their customers

      Dubai, UAE, 7 April 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) announced today a number of initiatives aimed to provide significant assistance and regulatory relief to the Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) financial services community. These initiatives are designed to allow the DIFC community to focus on protecting the wellbeing of their staff and supporting their clients during this time of stress and uncertainty.

      The DFSA is closely monitoring the financial and operational impacts of the current environment and will take all necessary steps to maintain the integrity of financial services and markets in the DIFC. Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: “We want to help all regulated firms and related businesses in the DIFC to manage their operations and protect their staff through the temporary challenges and uncertainties we are currently facing. We are committed to fulfilling our regulatory objectives as the independent financial services regulator of the DIFC, but we are also focusing our attention on the wellbeing of the Centre’s wider community and ecosystem. We are committed to supporting businesses and their customers in their efforts to safely navigate the current turbulence. The DFSA stands to consider any reasonable requests for regulatory relief and our staff are available to answer any questions. I encourage everyone to work together for the greater good of the DIFC community, Dubai and the UAE."

      Our regulatory relief measures include:

      New firms coming into the DIFC will: 

      • Be given more time to complete the application and authorisation processes and meet the set-up requirements to commence business;

      Receive a 50% reduction in Application Fees for the remainder of 2020 and flexibility in requirements for permanent premises; 

      In the case of Domestic Funds, receive a waiver of Registration Fees for the remainder of 2020.

      Existing Authorised Firms will be able to obtain:

      • An extension of time for filing a number of returns and reports, including both IRAP and ICAAP returns, the Controllers Report and the Annual Report of the Shari’a Supervisory Board, where applicable;

      • Additional time, where reasonable, for submitting Annual Accounts and Financial Statement Auditors Report, with the exception of Reporting Entities;

      • Flexibility in meeting Authorised Individual obligations, including extending the amount of time that temporary cover can be in place. 

      • A waiver of fees for applications relating to Authorised Individuals and flexibility in considering the workload that may be carried by those offering outsourced compliance services;

      • Temporary relief from Capital Requirements for those firms which do not hold or control Client Assets or hold Insurance Monies;

      • A waiver of our fees for applications for waivers and modifications for the remainder of 2020 and we will waive all automated late return fees for the remainder of 2020, and,

      • A waiver of the listing fees for new SME issuers in the DIFC for the remainder of 2020.

      In addition, where we believe we should proceed with a particular regulatory change, policy consultation periods will be extended, as will time for our firms to meet any new requirements.

      As the DIFC is the region’s international financial centre, the DFSA is in close and regular contact with national and international supervisory bodies. Currently, the DFSA is working closely with the Central Bank of the UAE on a variety of measures to assist banks in supporting their customers, particularly those assisting small and medium-sized businesses. The DFSA continues to work with the DIFC Authority on a variety of other measures.

      Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer, DIFC Authority, said: “The DFSA’s regulatory relief measures reinforce the robust set of initiatives we have implemented to provide relief to regulated firms and our entire community at the DIFC. Throughout this period of uncertainty, we have responded to the pressure companies and their people face as we are taking a rigid stance against the impact of this period of stress by putting the needs of our community first. It is through continued collaboration that we can provide businesses with the hope and financial strength needed to move beyond this challenging period.”

      The DFSA remains to facilitate to the best of its ability all appropriate measures to support the DIFC community at this time. Firms and Market Institutions in the Centre are aware that their primary focus should be on maintaining operational and financial resilience, in order to meet their obligations to clients. This includes looking after the wellbeing of their staff. 

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae 

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 4 April 2020 — CBUAE, ADGM & DIFC issues a joint guidance for banks and finance companies on the application of IFRS9 during COVID-19 pandemic

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Abu Dhabi (April 4th 2020): The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (“FSRA”) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (“ADGM”) and the Dubai Financial Services Authority (“DFSA”) of Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”), collectively the “Authorities”, have today issued joint guidance for banks and finance companies in relation to the application of International Financial Reporting Standard 9 (“IFRS 9”) during the current circumstances caused by COVID-19. 

      The Authorities regulate and supervise banks and finance companies that may have clients experiencing financial stresses as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. The CBUAE has al taken action to provide banks and finance companies a number of relief measures available under the Targeted Economic Support Scheme (TESS), given the economic disruption caused by COVID-19, effective from 15 March 2020. The Authorities are supporting both federal and local initiatives aimed at providing sustainable solutions to support borrowers who will be utilising government-sponsored debt relief programs at this time.

      In addition to these measures the CBUAE, FSRA of ADGM and DFSA believe that the flexibility embedded in the IFRS 9 framework should be employed to cope with the current crisis by banks and finance companies that are part of the TESS.  To assist these banks and finance companies, the Authorities will be publishing specific guidance with respect to the calculation of Expected Credit Loss (“ECL”) provisioning under IFRS 9. 

      The guidance, developed collectively by the Authorities, provides practical solutions for banks and finance companies in managing the impact of the current economic uncertainty on ECL, while remaining compliant with IFRS 9 and promoting consistency of approach. The overriding objective of the guidance is to ensure that financial reports are based on up to date estimations of the risks faced by banks and finance companies, while recognising the magnitude of support measures implemented by the Authorities, and acknowledging that the decision-making process related to IFRS 9 application will need to be adjusted in the current environment. The joint guidance has been released simultaneously by the Authorities to their regulated banks and finance companies, targeted at those that are participating in the TESS. The Authorities encourage those institutions to review the guidance and reach out to their respective supervisors for further clarification, if required.

      -Ends-

    • 24 March 2020 — DFSA Supports the UAE Government’s Measures to Address the Challenges of Covid-19

      Click here to view PDF.

      ➢ DFSA cooperating with local and international regulators
      ➢ DIFC firms and markets continue to show resilience  
      ➢ DFSA warns against heightened risks of cyber-attacks, phishing scams and fraud 

      Dubai, UAE, 24 March 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) announced today that it continues to closely assess and address the implications of the evolving situation of Covid-19 pandemic. The DFSA will take all necessary proactive and precautionary measures to help Dubai and the UAE in their efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 and will continue to work closely with all government agencies in that respect.

      The DFSA is actively engaged with the regulated community in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to assess the immediate and longer-term impact of this unprecedented global situation, and to intervene, as needed, to ensure financial stability and consumer protection. As the DIFC is a global hub for financial services, the DFSA is in close and regular contact with local and international supervisory bodies.

      International regulatory standards have strengthened the resilience of the financial system over the past decade. Banks have higher levels of capital and liquidity now than in previous times, including capital and liquidity buffers that were specifically designed to be used for situations such as this. The DFSA’s investments in regulatory technology and digitalisation have allowed better functionality as many firms moved to remote working arrangements. DIFC markets, including the equities and the bond platforms of Nasdaq Dubai (ND) and the commodity market of the Dubai Mercantile Exchange (DME), continue functioning ordinarily and efficiently. The DIFC markets’ structures have demonstrated operational strength and efficiency in this current environment, despite historic volatilities.

      The DFSA also wishes to highlight that the current circumstances can increase financial institutions’ vulnerability to cyberattacks, phishing attempts and fraud. The DFSA continues to encourage the DIFC regulated community to exercise vigilance in that respect. Firms in the DIFC firms are called to register to use the DFSA Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) and make use of the cyber threat information available on TIP to enhance their cybersecurity.

      The DFSA remains to consider all appropriate measures aimed at supporting the financial and operational resilience of financial institutions and markets in the DIFC. The DFSA will also back all actions by the UAE and the Dubai Governments to support the UAE economy, and actions by the Central Bank of the UAE to ensure financial stability in the UAE. The DFSA is working closely with the DIFC Authority on targeted, non-regulatory measures to support the DIFC community. As we have learned from our work in cyber resilience, public/private partnerships will provide the best path for solutions to this issue. The measures are vital to ensuring that the UAE and the DIFC, along with other markets around the globe, can recover when the current situation eventually passes.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

       

    • 22 March 2020 — DFSA takes action against a Senior Executive Officer

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 22 March, 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today announced that it has fined Mr Ajay Arora USD87,500 (approximately AED321,000), prohibited him from holding office or being an employee of a regulated DIFC firm, and restricted him from performing any functions in connection with the provision of Financial Services in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

      The DFSA has taken this action against Mr Arora due to his role in multiple serious breaches of DFSA legislation.  In particular, Mr Arora executed Client transactions without authorisation and engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct towards those Clients and the DFSA.  Among other things, the DFSA found that Mr Arora contravened the DFSA’s Principles for Authorised Individuals by failing to observe high standards of integrity and fair dealing.

      Mr Arora has been the Senior Executive Officer (SEO) of Morgan Gatsby Limited (MGL) since March 2013, when the DFSA licenced MGL.  In that role, he had ultimate responsibility for the day-to-day management, supervision and control of MGL’s financial services business.  Mr Arora was directly involved in MGL’s financial services business, and engaged with its Clients.

      The DFSA found that Mr Arora and MGL continued to engage in misconduct, despite concerns about rule breaches being brought to his attention on numerous occasions from 2016 onward by both the DFSA and MGL’s compliance function.  Despite these repeated warnings, Mr Arora did not take sufficient action to stop the misconduct or to improve the firm’s systems and controls.

      Certain of the contraventions relate to MGL’s dealings with two Clients.  Mr Arora (on behalf of MGL) effected transactions on behalf of these Clients without the Clients’ knowledge or authorisation.  Mr Arora also engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct in relation to these transactions by providing false or misleading information about the transactions to the Clients, or concealing the transactions from the Clients. One of the transactions was carried out despite the Client having given explicit instructions to the contrary.

      Mr Arora also failed to comply with a DFSA direction to keep the DFSA’s investigation confidential, and provided misleading and deceptive information to the DFSA regarding this failure.

      Furthermore, Mr Arora breached DFSA legislation through his involvement in MGL’s:

      • illegal promotion of an unregulated Foreign Fund;
      • failure to comply with certain restrictions on business and dealing with property imposed by the DFSA in May 2018;
      • failure to properly classify a Client and to conduct the necessary enquiries into the Client’s source of funds and rationale for entering into transactions; and
      • failure to ensure that MGL’s Board of Directors was provided with accurate information.

      The DFSA considered Mr Arora’s request for a reduction in the amount of the fine on the grounds of financial hardship, and agreed to reduce the fine imposed on him on these grounds. Mr Arora also agreed to settle the DFSA's action at an early stage of the DFSA investigation and, therefore, qualified for a reduction of the fine under the DFSA's policy for early settlement. Were it not for the reductions for financial hardship and for early settlement, the DFSA would have imposed a fine of USD187,500 (approximately AED689,000) on Mr Arora.

      Mr Bryan Stirewalt, the Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: "We hold Authorised Individuals, particularly SEOs, to the highest standards of integrity in discharging their responsibilities for the management, supervision and control of an Authorised Firm. Mr Arora did not meet these standards, even after he was repeatedly notified of compliance concerns regarding MGL’s activities.  The DFSA will take strong action against individuals who breach the DFSA’s legislation, and will pursue stronger action yet where misconduct continues despite warnings”.

      The DFSA took action against MGL on 6 January 2020 for the above-mentioned contraventions.  The detailed reasons for the DFSA’s action against Mr Arora are set out in the DFSA’s Decision Notice dated 10 March 2020 which can be found in the Regulatory Actions section of the DFSA website.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:
      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)
      is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose-built financial free-zone in Dubai. The DFSA’s regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for supervising and enforcing Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) requirements applicable in the DIFC. The DFSA also exercises delegated enforcement powers under the DIFC Companies Law. These include powers to investigate the affairs of DIFC companies and partnerships where a material breach of DIFC Companies Law is suspected and to pursue enforcement remedies available to the Registrar of Companies (Roc).

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly 8 years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan will take the lead in steering the work of the DFSA and further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial regulation in the DIFC. Bryan has played a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Bank

    • 9 March 2020 — Dubai Financial Services Authority Publishes Innovation Programme Progress Report

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 9 March 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has publishes its Innovation Programme Progress Report. The Report highlights the DFSA’s observations and lessons learnt since inception of the DFSA’s Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) Programme.

      Launched in 2017, the ITL enables firms to test innovative solutions in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in a controlled regulatory environment, without being subject to the full suite of regulatory requirements that apply to Authorised Firms. To date, 41 companies have applied to the Programme, 20 companies have been accepted into the Programme, and two companies have graduated from the Programme. The ITL facilitates engagement and education with the innovative community, assisting firms to develop an understanding of the regulatory environment, and provides the DFSA with valuable insight into building appropriate and proportionate regulatory responses and frameworks.   
       
      Chief Executive of the DFSA, Mr Bryan Stirewalt remarked: “Technology and innovation has had a transformative effect on the financial services industry in recent years. The ITL Programme was created to encourage innovation in the DIFC while safeguarding consumers against risk. The Programme has been successful in enabling the DFSA to deepen its understanding of the risks and benefits of these new concepts and allowing firms to test their ideas within a regulatory framework. The Programme will continue to evolve to support the market and we look forward to continuing to support the development of innovation in the DIFC and Dubai.”     
       
      The ITL supports broader Dubai and UAE governmental initiatives such as the National Innovation Strategy in driving innovation, facilitating the development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), and promoting Islamic Finance. The ITL contributes to the DIFC’s FinTech ecosystem, complementing initiatives such as the DIFC’s Startupbootcamp and FinTech Hive. 
       
      Applications for the next cohort will be accepted from 1-31 May 2020. For more information, please visit the DFSA website at http://www.dfsa.ae/FinTech.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 25 February 2020 — DFSA Fines Company USD 105,000 for Unauthorised Activity

      Click here to view the PDF.

       
      Dubai, UAE, 25 February 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today announced that it has fined Enness Limited (Enness DIFC), a DIFC Representative Office. The DFSA fined Enness DIFC USD 105,000 (approximately AED 386,000) for engaging in unauthorised activity outside the scope of its Representative Office DFSA Licence.

      As a Representative Office, Enness DIFC is only permitted to carry out a narrow set of activities in the DIFC relating to the marketing of mortgage services offered by its head office based in the United Kingdom.

      The DFSA’s investigation found that between November 2017 and January 2019, Enness DIFC arranged mortgages for its clients, and provided mortgage advice for its clients. Enness DIFC was not authorised to engage in such activity, and in doing so acted outside the scope of its Representative Office Licence, in breach of the DFSA’s laws.

      Enness DIFC fully cooperated with the DFSA's investigation, and has sought to obtain an appropriate DFSA Licence authorising it to carry on the wider Financial Service of Arranging Credit and Advising on Credit.

      Furthermore, Enness DIFC also agreed to settle the DFSA's action at an early stage of the investigation and, therefore, qualified for a discount under the DFSA's policy for early settlement.  Were it not for the settlement discount, the DFSA would have imposed a fine of USD 150,000 (approximately AED 551,000) on Enness DIFC.

      Mr Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: “This action demonstrates that the DFSA takes the failure by Representative Offices to act within the scope of their Licences seriously. We expect that all Representative Offices in the DIFC understand what they are authorised to do, and have controls in place that ensure they only engage in authorised activities. ”

      The detailed reasons for the DFSA’s action against Enness DIFC are set out in the DFSA’s Decision Notice dated 24 February 2020, which can be found in the Regulatory Actions section of the DFSA website.

       
      - Ends – 


      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae 
       

      Editor's notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose-built financial free-zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and related services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies to financial institutions and Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBPS) in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information. 


      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly 8 years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan will take the lead in steering the work of the DFSA and further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial regulation in the DIFC. Bryan has played a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 19 February 2020 — Dubai Financial Services Authority Hosts 11TH Annual Audit Outreach For Registered Auditors

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 19 February 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) hosted its 11th Annual Audit Outreach for Registered Auditors yesterday.

      In his opening address, Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, highlighted the continued growth of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) over the last year and underlined the important role of the accounting and auditing community in the overall ecosystem of the DIFC.

      Mr Stirewalt noted: “Over the years, the Annual Audit Outreach has become a flagship event for the DIFC’s audit community. The large audience in attendance every year demonstrates the commitment of the accounting and auditing professionals in the Centre. The global audit regulatory landscape is changing and will require accountants and auditors to work in a challenging and complex regulatory environment. We will continue to strongly encourage professional scepticism in the audit industry and to facilitate learning opportunities for audit professionals in line with the evolving global audit regulatory landscape. This will contribute to maintaining the strong reputation of the DIFC as a global financial services hub and boost international investor confidence in Dubai and the UAE.”

      More than 115 professionals including managing partners, audit principals, money laundering reporting officers and the senior audit staff of registered auditors attended the event, which is held annually by the DFSA.

      The event featured detailed presentations on the recent release of the International Forum of Independent Regulators’ (IFIAR) Inspection Findings Survey, DFSA Audit Monitoring Findings from 2019 and findings from the DFSA’s anti-money laundering (AML) inspections. The event also featured an update on the upcoming changes to the International Ethics Board for Professional Accountants (IESBA) Code of Ethics by IESBA’s technical advisor. A detailed overview of Audit Monitoring Focus for 2020 was also discussed highlighting the priorities for this year’s inspections.

      -ENDS-

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor's notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 28 January 2020 — DFSA to become a Signatory to the IOSCO Enhanced Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding: A First for the GCC

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 28 January 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today announced that it had been accepted as a signatory to the IOSCO Enhanced Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (Enhanced MMoU).

      The DFSA is the independent regulator of Financial Services in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a financial free zone located within the city of Dubai. In that capacity, the DFSA became a signatory of the IOSCO Multilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MMoU) on 23 January 2006. The MMoU is a framework for consultation, co-operation and exchange of information between securities regulators throughout the world. The MMoU sets out specific requirements for the sharing of information, and the confidentiality and permitted use of the information shared. The MMoU has been used to exchange information relevant to investigations into insider dealing, market manipulation, the misrepresentation of material information and other fraudulent or manipulative practices relating to securities and derivatives.

      The Enhanced MMoU enhances information sharing and co-operation between IOSCO members. The need for the enhancement to the MMoU arose as a consequence of a significant increase in the globalisation and the interconnectedness of financial markets, as well as advancements in technology.

      Signatories to the Enhanced MMoU must be able to:

      • obtain and share audit working papers, communications and other information relating to the audit or review of financial statements;
      • compel physical attendance for testimony (by being able to apply a sanction in the event of non-compliance); and
      • freeze assets if possible, or, if not, advise and provide information on how to freeze assets.

      Chief Executive Mr Bryan Stirewalt, said: “I am delighted that the DFSA has been accepted as a signatory of the IOSCO Enhanced MMoU. In order for the DFSA to be accepted as a signatory, the DFSA’s legislative and regulatory regime had to undergo a rigorous assessment process conducted by the IOSCO Screening Group to satisfy IOSCO that the DFSA has the requisite powers and is willing and able to use them. In signing the Enhanced MMoU, the DFSA further affirms its commitment to international cooperation with its counterpart authorities and regulators regionally and across the globe.

      To date, the DFSA is the first regulator in Africa and the Middle East and only the third regulator from IOSCO’s 111 emerging market jurisdictions to be admitted as a signatory to the Enhanced MMoU. As the rigorous process continues, other regulators will join, boosting confidence in all our markets.”

      -ENDS-

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor's notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly 8 years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan takes the lead in steering the work of the DFSA and further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan has played a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 22 January 2020 — DFSA supports National Cybersecurity Strategy by Launching a Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 22 January 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) launched the first financial regulator-led Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform (Platform) in the region in collaboration with the Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC), the National Computer Emergency Response Team for the UAE (aeCERT), the Computer Incident Response Center Luxembourg (CIRCL) and the Open Source Threat Intelligence and Sharing Platform Project (MISP).

      The DFSA will host the Platform on its infrastructure and will outsource the management and enrichment of the platform to HelpAG, a leading provider of strategic consultancy and tailored information security solutions and services to enterprises and governments across the region. The platform will facilitate the development of a community of information sharing for regulated and non-regulated companies operating in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The platform also connects with other respected international cyber security firms, including; Palo Alto Networks, Cofense, Kaspersky and Recorded Future.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive Officer of the DFSA, said: “Over the past two years, we have been steadily increasing our supervisory focus on operational resilience, including cyber risk. We are proud to launch the Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform, which brings together a community of cyber experts in a co-ordinated fight against cyberattacks, and will be a valuable mechanism for all members of the DIFC ecosystem to share information on threats and risks. These intensified efforts support the National Cybersecurity Strategy and the Dubai Cyber Security Strategy and are designed to strengthen the cybersecurity environment in the DIFC.”

      Waleed Al Awadhi, Chief Operating Officer of the DFSA, said: “We are proud to launch the Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform, the first financial regulator-led platform in the region, which confirms our commitment to support the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in line with the National Cybersecurity Strategy and the Dubai Cyber Security Strategy in order to position Dubai as a leader across all fronts. Through this initiative, we aim to establish an information-sharing community from the DIFC in order to mitigate cyber threats and limiting its impact. The importance of the Platform stems from the fact that it is the first cooperation between the public and private sector, and we are certain that it will achieve positive results that will benefit the economy and the development of the financial sector. On a larger scale, this partnership will help fortify Dubai’s position on the global financial map and its leadership in institutional excellence.”

      Abdulla Saleh Buali, Incident Response Team Leader of aeCERT, said: “Cyberattacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication, and firms generally have a reactive approach to threats. The information shared on the Platform will assist businesses in the DIFC in detecting and preventing cyber-attacks. Hence, we are happy to work hand in hand with the DFSA and other counterparts to provide the means necessary to fortify cybersecurity in the DIFC.”

      Amer Sharaf, Director of Compliance Support & Alliances at DESC, said: “We praise the efforts of DFSA for shedding light on the importance of cyber security by launching this initiative, which brings together and raises the awareness of the financial sector community.”

      Prior to the launch of the Platform, the DFSA undertook a series of initiatives focusing on cyber risk governance, systems hygiene and resilience. The DFSA also created a specialist supervision team tasked with overseeing how firms manage their cyber risk.

      - Ends -

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor’s notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

    • 15 January 2020 — The DFSA signs Guiding Principles on Sustainable Finance together with Leading Authorities in the UAE

      Click herehere to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 15 January 2020: The DFSA, together with a group of leading authorities in the UAE, has published the UAE’s first Guiding Principles on Sustainable Finance (the Guiding Principles), which will serve as a catalyst for the implementation of the UAE’s sustainability priorities.

      Based on the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Guiding Principles are the result of co-operative efforts among a number of authorities in the UAE, namely the Dubai Financial Services Authority, the Central Bank, the Insurance Authority, the Securities and Commodities Authority, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of the Abu Dhabi Global Market, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, the Dubai Financial Market, Nasdaq Dubai, and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.

      The Guiding Principles were officially signed in a ceremony today at the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Finance Forum (ADSFF) during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. The Guiding Principles are designed to encourage signatories to intensify their efforts to achieve increased implementation and integration of sustainable practices among the UAE’s financial entities and to secure a sustainable economic future for the UAE.

      The DFSA, together with other financial regulators, authorities and bodies, has undertaken to implement appropriate measures to encourage and support financial services firms in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in developing strategies to incorporate sustainable practices in their business activities, decision-making, risk management and in the context of exploring new businesses. The DFSA’s participation in other fora such as the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), which it joined in July 2019, and the IOSCO Growth and Emerging Markets Committee, where the DFSA is represented on the Steering Committee, will inform our future actions in this area.

      The DFSA’s CEO, Bryan Stirewalt, who participated in the Guiding Principles signing ceremony said: “The UAE is fortunate to have visionary leaders who are championing sustainability and economic development at a governmental level through initiatives such as the UAE Green Agenda 2030. The DFSA recognises the importance of sustainable finance and is committed to implementing standards and principles that foster the growth of sustainable practices in the DIFC. We look forward to working alongside our regulatory counterparts to continue developing the UAE into a global sustainable finance hub.”

      The DIFC, as a leading international financial centre, currently ranked eighth globally in the Global Financial Centres Index, contributes to the growth and development of the UAE’s economy, including through its industry-led Sustainable Finance Working Group initiative launched jointly with the Dubai Financial Market in July 2019.

      -ENDS-

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor's notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose built financial free zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, crowdfunding platforms, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly eight years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan steers the work of the DFSA, further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial services regulation in the DIFC. Bryan plays a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan also plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.

      The UAE Green Agenda 2030 was implemented by the Cabinet of the United Arab Emirates in January 2015. The Green Agenda resulted from concerted efforts of the federal and local authorities to concretize the UAE Green Growth Strategy. The Strategy was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in January 2012. The Strategy aims to bring into effect the UAE’s ambition to become a global hub and a successful model for the low-carbon green economy to enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of its development and preserve its environment for future generations.

       

    • 8 January 2020 — DFSA takes action against Morgan Gatsby Limited for multiple serious breaches

      Click herehere to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 8 January 2020: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today announced that it has fined Morgan Gatsby Limited (MGL), approximately USD 246,000 (approx. AED 900,000), for multiple serious breaches of DFSA legislation. The DFSA had previously suspended MGL’s licence on 8 November 2018 due to concerns regarding MGL’s non-compliance with DFSA legislation.

      The DFSA’s action follows an investigation that found that MGL, a DFSA Authorised Firm, had committed breaches of DFSA legislation by:

      • illegally promoting an unregulated Foreign Fund;
      • making unauthorised transactions on behalf of two clients and engaging in misleading and deceptive conduct in regard to those transactions;
      • failing to comply with certain restrictions on business and dealing with property imposed by the DFSA in May 2018;
      • failing to properly classify a client and conduct the requisite inquiries into a client’s source of funds and rationale for entering into transactions;
      • failing to comply with DFSA Rules relating to the safe custody of client assets; and,
      • failing to ensure that its Board of Directors was provided with accurate information.

      MGL agreed to settle the DFSA's action at an early stage of the DFSA investigation and, therefore, qualified for a discount under the DFSA's policy for early settlement. Were it not for the settlement discount, the DFSA would have imposed a fine of approximately USD 352,000 (approx. AED 1,290,000) on MGL.

      Mr Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: "MGL has had a history of not complying with the legislation administered by the DFSA, even after the DFSA warned MGL of its concerns. The DFSA has no tolerance for recalcitrant firms that continue to breach the DFSA’s legislation, despite repeated warnings”.

      The detailed reasons for the DFSA’s action against MGL are set out in the DFSA’s Decision Notice dated 6 January 2020, which can be found in the Regulatory Actions section of the DFSA website: The earlier Decision Notice suspending MGL’s licence can also be found in that section.

      -ENDS-

      For further information please contact:
      Corporate Communications
      Dubai Financial Services Authority
      Level 13, The Gate, West Wing
      Dubai, UAE
      Tel: +971 (0)4 362 1613
      Email: DFSAcorpcomms@dfsa.ae
      www.dfsa.ae

      Editor's notes:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a purpose-built financial free-zone in Dubai. The DFSA's regulatory mandate covers asset management, banking and credit services, securities, collective investment funds, custody and trust services, commodities futures trading, Islamic finance, insurance, an international equities exchange and an international commodities derivatives exchange. In addition to regulating financial and ancillary services, the DFSA is responsible for administering Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) legislation that applies in the DIFC. Please refer to the DFSA's website for more information.

      About Bryan Stirewalt:

      Bryan Stirewalt was appointed Chief Executive of the DFSA on 1 October, 2018, after nearly 8 years as the DFSA's Managing Director of the Supervision Division. In his role as Chief Executive, Bryan will take the lead in steering the work of the DFSA and further developing its capability as a robust regulator delivering world-class financial regulation in the DIFC. Bryan has played a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. Bryan plays an active role in supporting the work of international standard-setting bodies. He now serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision's engagement with non-member, global supervisors on banking supervisory issues. Through this role, Bryan also serves as an Observer at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.