21 May 2019 — Financial Markets Tribunal upholds the DFSA's withdrawal of Royal Shield Ltd's licence

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Dubai, UAE, 21 May 2019: The Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT) has affirmed a decision by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to withdraw the licence of Royal Shield Ltd to carry on Financial Services in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The DFSA withdrew the licence on the grounds that the firm is no longer fit and proper to hold the financial services licence. The firm disputed the DFSA's original decision and referred it to the FMT for review. In a decision dated 8 May 2019, the FMT dismissed the reference and affirmed the DFSA's decision.

The DFSA decided on 30 September 2018 to withdraw Royal Shield Ltd's licence based on concerns relating to:

•   the firm's failure to maintain adequate financial resources to conduct and manage its affairs properly;
•   the lack of sufficient personnel, including not having a Finance Officer; a role which is required under the DFSA's Rules; and
•   the firm not maintaining its required business premises in the DIFC for a considerable period.

On 14 November 2018, the firm referred the DFSA's decision to withdraw its licence to the FMT for review. The FMT is operationally independent of the DFSA and 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 FMT may uphold, vary or cancel the DFSA's decision.

On several occasions, the FMT directed the firm to highlight the aspects of the DFSA's decision with which it disagreed and the reasons why. Royal Shield Ltd failed to comply with this direction, resulting in the FMT dismissing the firm's reference and affirming the DFSA's original decision.

Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: “The DFSA requires all Authorised Firms to remain fit and proper, and maintain adequate resources, at all times. When the DFSA has reason to believe a firm is failing in these obligations, it will take appropriate action, including, where necessary, withdrawing a firm's licence. The DFSA welcomes the FMT's decision on this matter."

The FMT's order can be found on the FMT section of the DFSA website, and a copy of it can be accessed via this link. A copy of the DFSA's Decision Notice detailing the reasons for its original decision can be found on the Regulatory Actions section of the DFSA website, and a copy of it can be accessed via this link.

The withdrawn status of the firm was noted in the DFSA's public register, which can be accessed here.

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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

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.