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  • 2021 2021

    • 10 August 2021 — Dubai Financial Services Regulator Appoints F. Christopher Calabia as New Chief Executive

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 10 August 2021: The Board of Directors (Board) of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has announced the appointment of F. Christopher Calabia as the new Chief Executive of the DFSA. Chris will succeed Bryan Stirewalt with effect from 1 October 2021.

      Chris is an accomplished leader in financial regulation with a career that spans 30 years in various public and not-for-profit sector roles. As an expert in banking supervision, Chris was previously responsible for improving supervisory effectiveness at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he held a variety of specialised policy and supervision roles. He joins the DFSA from a Senior Advisory position at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, leading its work to promote regulations that enable digital financial inclusion. In that capacity, he has advocated for policy, technology and data innovations to support supervisors and strengthen the safety, soundness, and integrity of financial systems in developing countries around the world.

      Fadel Al Ali, Chairman of the DFSA, commented: “The DFSA plays a crucial role as the independent financial regulator of the DIFC. As we stand at the cusp of great economic change, we are looking to further build on regulatory best practices and encourage the development of innovative new solutions for markets and investors. Chris’s experience, driving innovation in complex environments while maintaining the stability and integrity of financial systems, will further strengthen the DIFC’s standing as a global financial hub. The Board of Directors and I look forward to working with Chris as he builds on the best practices set in place and enhances regulatory capacity at a time of rapid transformation in markets and technology.”

      He added: “During his tenure, Bryan has played an instrumental role in maintaining the DFSA’s reputation as a leading global regulator and has been a valued and respected leader at the DFSA, particularly through a challenging period. Bryan has also been an exemplary ambassador for the DFSA on a global stage through his participation in the work of international standard-setting bodies. On behalf of the Board, I wish to convey our greatest appreciation to Bryan for his many achievements and contributions.”

      - 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.

    • 14 July 2021 — Former Abraaj CFO, Mr Ashish Dave, fined USD 1.7 million for his involvement in deception, unauthorised activity, and compliance breaches

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 14 July 2021: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has today published a Decision Notice against Mr Ashish Bhrugu Dave (Mr Dave), a former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the Abraaj Group, imposing a penalty of USD 1,700,000 (AED 6,243,250). The Notice also prohibits and restricts Mr Dave from performing any function in connection with the provision of financial services in or from the DIFC.

      Mr Dave was the Abraaj Group CFO from September 2008 to September 2013 and then again from February 2017 to March 2018. During both periods, Mr Dave was authorised by the DFSA to perform licensed functions as the Finance Officer and Licensed Director of Abraaj Capital Limited (ACLD), a DFSA Authorised Firm.

      On 8 June 2021, the DFSA decided to take enforcement action against Mr Dave for being knowingly involved in breaches of DIFC legislation and the DFSA’s Rules by Abraaj Investment Management Limited (AIML), a Cayman entity not authorised by the DFSA, and ACLD. In particular:

      • AIML, carried out unauthorised financial services in and from the DIFC and actively misled and deceived investors in Abraaj funds; and
      • ACLD, failed to maintain adequate capital resources, deceived the DFSA about its compliance with various legislation and rules, and was knowingly concerned in AIML's unauthorised financial services activities.

      Mr Dave was knowingly involved in AIML misleading and deceiving investors over the use of monies in Abraaj funds. In particular, Mr Dave was aware that approximately USD 200 million was taken from the Abraaj Growth Markets Healthcare Fund (AGHF) and used for the Abraaj Group’s working capital or other investment commitments. Mr Dave then proposed, orchestrated, and executed actions to deceive auditors and investors as to the actual cash balance in AGHF’s bank accounts by temporarily borrowing monies for the purpose of producing misleading bank balance confirmations and misleading financial statements.

      Mr Dave was also knowingly involved in AIML carrying out unauthorised activity through his actions in the Abraaj investment cycle from signing Investment Management Agreements to distributing proceeds to investors. As early as 2009, Mr Dave failed properly to address concerns raised with him about AIML engaging in unauthorised activities in and from the DIFC.

      Mr Dave was knowingly involved in ACLD contraventions by authorising temporary cash transfers at certain reporting period end dates and signing management representation letters to report falsely that ACLD was in compliance with its Capital Resources requirements. As ACLD’s Finance Officer, Mr Dave was directly responsible for ACLD’s compliance with the DFSA’s capital Rules.

      The fine imposed reflects the seriousness of the offences and is based on Mr Dave’s earnings from the Abraaj Group.

      Peter Smith, acting Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: "It is central to our regulatory objectives to hold to account those who are at the centre of wrong-doing by Firms. The wrong-doing by AIML and ACLD was of the highest order of seriousness. As the Group CFO, Mr Dave was in a unique position with visibility over the financial affairs of the group. He had the opportunity to expose and bring to a halt AIML and ACLD’s breaches. Instead, Mr Dave became actively involved in the deception of Abraaj stakeholders. Our actions against other former senior Abraaj staff members are on-going and in the final stages of the disciplinary process.”

      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, 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.

      Peter Smith, Managing Director, Head of Strategy, Policy and Risk, joined the DFSA in June 2012. He is responsible for the DFSA’s strategic planning, its annual business planning cycle and engagement with external bodies on strategic issues; the further development and maintenance of the DFSA’s policy framework; and the organisation’s risk framework, including the risk-based approach to regulation.

      Peter is President of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment’s UAE National Advisory Committee, and a member of the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority’s Capital Markets Advisory Council. Internationally, Peter is a member of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors’ Policy Development Committee. He is a member of the steering body of the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), which brings together like-minded regulators to work on innovation in financial services.

    • 29 June 2021 — DFSA Opens Innovation Testing Licence Cohort

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      Dubai, UAE, 29 June 2021: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) invites local and international firms to apply to join the next cohort for its Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) Programme. The cohort will be open to applicants from 1st to 31st July. Successful cohort applicants will be invited to apply to enter the DFSA’s Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) Programme.

      Launched in 2017, the ITL is a licensed regulatory sandbox which enables approved firms to test new and innovative financial products, services, and business models in and from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) within a restricted regulatory environment. Firms must provide a clear explanation of their planned business model and the proposed innovative product or service.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA said: “Innovation brings a promise of increased competition, financial inclusion, improved consumer choice, and new products and services which are more efficient or beneficial. As the need for these solutions increases, so does the need for trusted solution providers. The ITL Programme enables a direct testing environment for these innovative products, services and business models, pursuant to a testing plan. Operating within the framework of a sandbox can reduce regulatory uncertainties and provide clarification on regulatory and supervisory expectations. We look forward to receiving a fresh batch of applications for technology driven companies with unique solutions.”

      The programme reflects the DFSA’s continued commitment to new and emerging technologies in the DIFC. Since the May 2017 launch of the ITL, a total of 105 companies have applied to enter the programme and 51 applicants have been accepted into the programme. At present, 5 firms are operating in the ITL, 3 firms have successfully completed and exited the programme, and 7 firms have an In-Principal approval.

      - 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.

    • 23 June 2021 — DFSA Imposes Restrictions on FFA Private Bank (Dubai) Limited

      Click here to view the PDF.

      23 June 2021: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) announced that it has imposed restrictions on FFA Private Bank (Dubai) Limited (FFA) prohibiting it from receiving, arranging or executing orders from or on behalf of specific clients.

      The DFSA imposed the restrictions by way of a prohibition due to concerns about the adequacy of its systems and controls to identify, assess and report trading giving rise to suspicions of market abuse relating to certain clients. The prohibition will remain in place until FFA is able to demonstrate that it has addressed these weaknesses. FFA is cooperating with the DFSA to resolve the issues.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, commented: “The DFSA will take strong action to protect the integrity of financial markets. We will not hesitate to restrict the activities of firms where there are concerns over the adequacy of their processes to prevent or detect market abuse. The DFSA is committed to protecting the interests of users of financial markets.”

      The DFSA’s public register has been updated to reflect the license restrictions, by noting the word restriction against FFA’s licence entry, and a decision notice has been issued on its website.

      A copy of the DFSA's Decision Notice 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, 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.

    • 1 June 2021 — UAE Regulatory Authorities Launch Consultation on the ‘Guidelines for Financial Institutions Adopting Enabling Technologies’

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Abu Dhabi ( June 1, 2021): The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have jointly launched a four-week public consultation on proposed “Guidelines for Financial Institutions Adopting Enabling Technologies”.

      The consultation launched today sets out principles for cross-sectoral such as banking, insurance, asset management and securities, and best practices for financial institutions when adopting enabling technologies for the development or offering of innovative products and services. The enabling technologies include Application Programming Interfaces, Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence, Biometrics, Cloud Computing, and Distributed Ledger Technology.

      The objectives of these Guidelines are to promote the safe and sound adoption of these technologies by financial institutions across the UAE, so that the risks arising from the adoption of innovative activities are proactively and appropriately managed. In drawing up the Guidelines, the Regulators have considered both international standards and industry best practices.

      The Guidelines will apply to all financial institutions that are licensed and supervised by any of the Regulators and who utilise the enabling technologies, irrespective of the financial activities conducted.

      The Regulators welcome comments on the Guidelines which is planned to be issued in the second half of 2021, subject to the outcome of the public consultation.

      To view and download the Guidelines, please click on the following link: https://centralbank.ae/en/fintech-office

      Comments can be sent to consultation-etechnology@cbuae.gov.ae no later than 30 Jun 2021.

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    • 29 March 2021 — Dubai Financial Services Authority Consults on Regulation of Security Tokens

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 29 March 2021: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today published its “Framework for Regulating Security Tokens” for public consultation for a period of 30 days.

      The DFSA is proposing a comprehensive and innovative regulatory framework for regulating Security Tokens, a new and growing area of interest for many industry participants. We are actively engaged with key stakeholders in Dubai and around the world on the future of finance and the rapidly growing area of financial technology, including various Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) applications.

      Security Tokens create rights and obligations that are the same as, or are substantially similar to conventional investment instruments. We use the term Security Tokens as this is a commonly used term in the industry, but the framework goes beyond typical securities to cover derivatives as well. This enables the use of DLT and similar technologies across the full spectrum of investments in a consistent manner.

      We propose updating our regulatory regime to facilitate DLT-based activities of:

      • the offer of Security Tokens to the public, and the admission to trading of Security Tokens on trading facilities;

      • the trading of Security Tokens; and

      • the provision of other financial services relating to Security Tokens, such as providing custody relating to Digital Wallets holding Security Tokens, and advising and arranging.

      Some of the key changes proposed are:

      • allowing facilities that trade Security Tokens to have direct access members, including retail clients;

      • enhanced systems and controls requirements to address risks associated with the use of DLT or similar technology;

      • enhanced disclosure in prospectuses; and

      • enhanced requirements for those providing custody of Digital Wallets.

      Allowing direct access is a significant shift from the current intermediated model of trading in markets. Our proposals include appropriate safeguards to tackle investor protection needs and misconduct risks, whilst also addressing market integrity, financial stability and, crucially, money laundering and terrorism financing threats in the direct access environment.

      We will soon issue proposals for other types of tokens that are not Security Tokens, such as exchange tokens and utility tokens, later in 2021.

      Bryan Stirewalt, the Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: “The proposal for regulation of Security Tokens is a key milestone in paving a clear and certain path for those issuers who wish to raise capital in or from the DIFC using DLT and similar technology, and for those firms who intend to be involved in this market, by conducting or providing financial services.

      Our proposals promote and facilitate innovation, while also protecting consumers, addressing market integrity and mitigating ML/FT and other risks. We have drawn on the experience of other regulators who have taken cautious steps in this rapidly developing area, while addressing DIFC specific needs. We look forward to receiving public comments on these proposals.

      - 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.

    • 3 March 2021 — Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), UAE Banks Federation (UBF), and ICAEW Host a Special Briefing on IFRS-9

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 03 March 2021: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), along with UAE Banks Federation (UBF) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW) hosted a special briefing earlier today where a distinguished panel explored the impact of COVID-19 on reporting and auditing for Expected Credit Losses (ECL) under IFRS-9. The special briefing included an exclusive interview with His Excellency Riyad Al-Mubarak, Honorary President, UAE Accountants & Auditors Association (AAA), in which His Excellency shared his experience and highlighted a financial reporting guide issued by the AAA.

      Mr Jamal Saleh, Director General of UBF, welcomed the participants to this special briefing and explained the purpose of the session. “It is very difficult to predict when this COVID-19 induced economic crisis will end. However, providing clarity in the midst of uncertainty is not only necessary but also valued. Moreover, changes in economic conditions should be reflected in the macroeconomic scenarios that are applied by entities and in their weightings. UBF is always keen to be part of similar webinars, which we hope will provide practical solutions for our member banks and finance companies in managing the impact of current economic uncertainty, due to COVID-19 pandemic, on the calculation of ECL, while always remaining compliant with IFRS-9 and promoting consistency in the overall approach,” Mr Saleh said.

      In his opening address, Mr Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, highlighted the financial reporting challenges arising due to COVID-19 pandemic. “IFRS-9 has been put to the test during this pandemic as a replacement of its predecessor IAS-39. The COVID-19 crisis and related economic uncertainty present unique and ongoing challenges for auditors. Making fair and timely assessments in today’s unusual and fast-changing environment has become extremely challenging. Auditors will need to obtain evidence of a different nature or form than previously obtained, which may affect how and on what basis they consider the relevance and reliability of that evidence. In light of the economic impacts of COVID-19, new risks may emerge. Professional scepticism has never been more important and will play a key role when it comes to these challenging areas,” Mr Stirewalt said.

      Distinguished panellists covered financial reporting, auditing and regulatory perspectives. Panellists included Alexis D'Almedia from Central Bank of the UAE, Asim Rasheed from EmiratesNBD, and Alexis Agathocleous from Deloitte Middle East. The panel discussion was moderated by Philippa Kelly, ICAEW Director, who is based in the UK.

      More than 400 professionals including audit partners of DFSA Registered Auditors, ICAEW members, and members of UBF, attended the event. Considering the safety and wellbeing of all participants, this event was hosted virtually.

      Michael Armstrong FCA, ICAEW Regional Director, Middle East, Africa and South Asia, while closing the event said: “We were proud to co-host this briefing with the DFSA and UAE Banks Federation to help bring much needed guidance on the complex judgements necessary to apply IFRS 9 in the current circumstances. Quantifying ECL and credit risk in accordance with IFRS 9 is extremely challenging for financial institutions in the best of times, and has been made all the more complex by the coronavirus-related economic crisis.

      “The implications for financial statements not only include the measurement of assets and liabilities but also disclosure. As new information emerges constantly, the cut-off for inclusion of information in a reporting cycle becomes increasingly challenging. Chartered accountants have a major role to play – not just in helping steer businesses through these times but sharing our expertise with governments.

      - 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:

      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.ICAEW: There are more than 1.8m chartered accountants and students around the world and 186,500 of them are members and students of ICAEW. They are talented, ethical and committed professionals, which is why all of the top 100 Global Brands employ chartered accountants.

      ICAEW promotes inclusivity, diversity and fairness. We attract talented individuals into the profession and give them the skills and values they need to build resilient businesses, economies and societies, while ensuring our planet’s resources are managed sustainably.

      Founded in 1880, we have a long history of serving the public interest and we continue to work with governments, regulators and business leaders around the world. And, as an improvement regulator, we supervise and monitor over 12,000 firms, holding them, and all ICAEW members and students, to the highest standards of professional competency and conduct.

      ICAEW is proud to be part of Chartered Accountants Worldwide, a global network of 750,000 members across 190 countries, which promotes the expertise and skills of chartered accountants on a global basis.

      We believe that chartered accountancy can be a force for positive change. By sharing our insight, expertise and understanding we can help to create strong economies and a sustainable future for all.

      UAE Banks Federation: Established in 1982, UAE Banks Federation (UBF) is a professional representative body of the member banks operating in the UAE. It advocates banks’ interests and enhances cooperation and coordination among them so as to upgrade the banking industry for the benefit of the banking sector and national economy.

      UBF is managed by a nine-member Board of Directors elected every three years. The Board of Directors is responsible for planning, policy-making and supervision of UBF’s activity. The Board of Directors is chaired by H.E. Abdul Aziz Abdullah Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank. The Advisory Council of Chief Executive Officers/General Managers, is consisted of the CEOs of the national banks in addition to the largest foreign and GCC Banks, oversees policy implementation, follows up on UBF’s activities and takes the necessary decisions to the banking sector.

      The 23 technical committees and 3 advisory committees are specialized in all banking domains. They prepare studies on all topics related to the banking industry, which are then referred, by the General Secretariat, to the Council for approval. Members of UBF has reached 51 Banks by 2020.

    • 8 February 2021 — DFSA Fines Ashish Bhandari USD 165,000 for Involvement in Anti-Money Laundering Breaches and Obstructing the DFSA

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 8 February 2021: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has today published a Decision Notice against Mr Ashish Bhandari, a former relationship manager at a DFSA Authorised Firm.

      On 17 September 2020, the DFSA decided to take enforcement action against Mr Bhandari for being knowingly involved in breaches of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) legislation from 2011 to 2013 and for obstructing the DFSA in 2017 and 2018. The DFSA did not make a finding that Mr Bhandari had engaged in money laundering. The DFSA has fined Mr Bhandari USD 165,000 and restricted him from performing any function in connection with the provision of financial services in or from the DIFC.

      Mr Bhandari referred the matter to the Financial Markets Tribunal on 18 October 2020. As a result of a settlement agreement reached with the DFSA, he has since withdrawn that referral.

      The DFSA found that Mr Bhandari, who was a relationship manager with a private bank in the DIFC, was the director and registered beneficial owner of an off-shore entity registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), which had been set up with an introducer of his employer. Mr Bhandari arranged for the introducer's referral fees to be paid by his employer to the BVI entity without disclosing his involvement in the entity to his employer. Mr Bhandari was also instructed by certain of his clients to transfer money to the BVI entity. However, Mr Bhandari’s employer thought the BVI entity was owned and controlled by the introducer. From the money transferred into the BVI entity, large sums were then transferred to Mr Bhandari’s personal bank accounts outside the UAE. The DFSA found that, by not disclosing his outside activities and involvement in the BVI entity, he was able to maintain the fund routing arrangements and thereby retain clients.

      Mr Bhandari’s employer failed to take proper steps to verify the identity and ownership of the BVI entity in accordance with its AML obligations, instead simply accepting Mr Bhandari’s assertions, which he must have known were inaccurate. The DFSA found that Mr Bhandari was knowingly concerned in breaches of AML legislation by concealing relevant information within his knowledge from the Authorised Firm and its compliance function.

      Further, Mr Bhandari failed without reasonable excuse to comply with the DFSA’s requests to provide information and provided false, misleading or deceptive information to the DFSA, or concealed information from the DFSA, with the intention of obstructing the DFSA’s investigation.

      The DFSA would like to acknowledge the cooperation and assistance provided by the Mauritius Financial Services Commission and the British Virgin Islands Financial Services Commission.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: "Employees at authorised firms have a duty to act with integrity and professionalism, even more important for those employees who are responsible for dealing directly with clients and investors. When called to give an account of their knowledge and actions, the DFSA expects complete honesty and transparency. Anything short of that will result in significant penalties and restrictions. The fine is higher than it would have been as the DFSA has previously imposed sanctions for highly similar misconduct. We expect standards to improve and we will hold to account those who fail to learn."

      The DFSA decided to take action against Mr Bhandari 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 acknowledges the cooperation and assistance provided by the Mauritius Financial Services Commission and the BVI Financial Services Commission to the DFSA’s investigation.

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

      - 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.

    • 1 February 2021 — DFSA Suspends Licence of Red Spear Capital (DIFC) Limited

      Click here to view the PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 1 February 2021:

      The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) announced that it has suspended the licence of Red Spear Capital (DIFC) Limited (Red Spear) for a period of 12 months, consistent with its aim of protecting direct and indirect users of the financial services industry in the DIFC.

      Red Spear’s licence was suspended due to serious concerns about the adequacy of its financial resources, its non-compliance with the DFSA rulebook requirements and not maintaining an open relationship with the DFSA.

      The DFSA is committed to protecting the reputation and integrity of the DIFC’s financial services and will take action to ensure the interests of direct, indirect, and prospective users of financial services in the DIFC are protected. The DFSA regularly reminds firms of their requirement to maintain adequate financial resources at all times, and of the importance of dealing with the DFSA in an open and cooperative manner.

      - 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.