AML 15 Guidance

1. A DNFBP should ensure that it complies with and has regard to relevant provisions of the Regulatory Law. The Regulatory Law gives the DFSA a power to supervise DNFBPs' compliance with relevant AML laws in the State. The Regulatory Law requires a DNFBP to be registered by the DFSA to conduct its activities in the DIFC. AML Rule 15.1.2 sets out the criteria a DNFBP must meet to be registered. The Regulatory Law also gives the DFSA a number of other important powers in relation to DNFBPs, including powers of enforcement. This includes a power to obtain information and to conduct investigations into possible breaches of the Regulatory Law. The DFSA may also impose fines for breaches of the Regulatory Law or the Rules. It may also suspend or withdraw the registration of a DNFBP in various circumstances.
2. The DFSA takes a risk-based approach to regulation of persons which it supervises. Generally, the DFSA will work with DNFBPs to identify, assess, mitigate and control relevant risks where appropriate. RPP describes the DFSA's enforcement powers under the Regulatory Law and outlines its policy for using these powers.
3. AML Rule 3.2.1 defines a DNFBP by setting out a list of businesses or professions which, if carried on in or from the DIFC, constitute a DNFBP.
4. In determining if a person is carrying on a business or profession in the DIFC that falls within the DNFBP definition, the DFSA will adopt a 'substance over form' approach. That is, it will consider what business or profession is in fact being carried on, and its main characteristics, and not just what business or profession the person purports, or is licensed, to carry on in the DIFC.
5. The DFSA considers that "a law firm, notary firm or other independent legal business" in paragraph (1)(d) of the DNFBP definition, includes any business or profession that involves a legal service, including advice or services related to laws in the State or other jurisdictions. The DFSA does not consider it necessary for the purposes of the definition that:
a. the relevant person is licensed to provide legal services in the State; or
b. the individuals or employees providing the legal service are qualified or authorised to do so, whether in the State or in any other jurisdiction.
6. The DFSA considers that "an accounting firm, audit firm or insolvency firm" in paragraph (1)(e) of the DNFBP definition, includes forensic accounting services that use accounting skills, principles and techniques to investigate suspected illegal activity or to analyse financial information for use in legal proceedings.
7. The DFSA would also consider a tax advisory business carried on in or from the DIFC to be a DNFBP as it is likely to involve elements of both legal and accounting services i.e. advice on taxation law and the use of accounting skills to analyse financial records, and so fall within either paragraph (1)(d) or (e) of the DNFBP definition.
Derived from RM117/2013 [VER9/07-13]
[Amended] DFSA RM196/2016 (Made 7th December 2016). [VER13/02-17]
[Amended] DFSA RM223/2018 (Made 18th April 2018). [VER14/07-18]