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Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA): Contents

Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA)
Laws
Rulebook Modules
Sourcebook Modules
Consultation Papers
Policy Statements
DFSA Codes of Practice
Amendments to Legislation
Media Releases
2018
3 October 2018 — Mohammed bin Rashid Enacts DIFC Regulatory Amendment Law
Notices
Financial Markets Tribunal
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  • 2018

    • 18 December 2018 — DFSA Enhances its Funds Regime

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 18 December 2018: Changes to the DFSA Collective Investment Funds regime, on which the Dubai Financial Services Authority ("DFSA") consulted in October last year, will come into force today coinciding with the enactment of the DIFC Companies Law 2018 ("Companies Law"). The DFSA consultation included a wide-ranging set of proposals to support the continued development of the growing Funds industry in the Dubai International Financial Centre ("DIFC"). The DIFC now has almost 70 Funds, most of which have been registered over the last two years.

      The new provisions strengthen the DFSA's commitment to meeting international standards, particularly those of the International Organization of Securities Commissions ("IOSCO") and the Financial Stability Board ("FSB"), through measures to enhance liquidity risk management in open-ended Funds. Open-ended Funds give their investors the right to have their Units redeemed at a price calculated based on the net asset value of the Fund's portfolio of assets.

      The new provisions:

      •   incorporate the Public Company and Private Company distinction, introduced by the Companies Law, into the Funds regime, so that all Investment Companies with retail investor participation would need to be Public Companies;
      •   remove the current limits on the number of investors which a DIFC Fund can have. Currently only a Public Fund is able to have more than 100 investors (including retail), with an Exempt Fund being limited to 100 or fewer investors and a Qualified Investor Fund ("QIF") being limited to 50 or fewer investors. These changes do not alter the current focus of regulation of these Funds, which is based on the type of investors (e.g. any Fund with retail investors will receive higher levels of scrutiny).
      •   introduce a new class of specialist Funds for Exchange-Traded Funds ("ETFs"). These are open-ended Funds, the Units of which are listed and traded on exchanges. ETFs have become increasingly popular among both retail and institutional investors over the past several years. Their introduction would give greater choice of Funds available to investors from the DIFC, with Fund Managers also having a greater choice of Funds they could offer; and
      •   enables a Fund established as an Investment Company to be managed by its sole Corporate Director licensed as a Fund Manager to manage only that Fund and no other. This is a model available in the European Union, and we have made some adjustments to suit the DIFC regime.

      The changes to the legislation can be viewed under the Notice of Amendments section on the DFSA website.

      Bryan Stirewalt, the Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: "The DFSA continues to enhance its regulatory regime to facilitate the growth of the DIFC and the development of the financial sector in Dubai and the UAE. We have introduced a number of significant changes to the DFSA Funds regime to support and complement the continued development of the DIFC Funds sector, which has grown significantly during the past two years."

      - 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 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 eight 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.

      Statistics on DIFC funds industry

      Public Funds 14
      Exempt Funds 14
      Qualified Investor Funds 39
      Domestic Fund Managers 54
      External Fund Managers 2

    • 9 December 2018 — DFSA hosts Authorisation Outreach and Stakeholder Roundtable

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 9 December, 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority ("DFSA") held its Authorisation Roundtable to discuss key aspects of the authorisation process. The discussions also addressed the DFSA's 2019 priorities for new applicants seeking a licence to provide financial services in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre ("DIFC"). Key regulatory priorities discussed at this event included combating financial crime and digitalisation, in line with the Dubai Government initiatives, whilst ensuring that the services remain outward focused, relevant and responsive to a changing market.

      In his opening remarks, Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: "Today's event reflects our commitment to engage with key stakeholders that contribute to building a broader and deeper international Financial Centre. The event is a fundamental part of the DFSA's mandate to ensure effective communication with its key stakeholders. We are also keen to discuss evolving trends and the impact they will have on the pipeline of new applicants to the regulated community of the DIFC."

      During the event the DFSA provided several updates including, developments to the DFSA Online Forms, a question and answer session to discuss statistical information, and a comprehensive update on the anti-money laundering ("AML") and the Financial Action Task Force ("FATF") Mutual Evaluation. In addition to providing these updates, the DFSA listened to a number of issues, concerns and ideas from the stakeholder community. Each of the concerns raised and the suggestions made will receive consideration in the DFSA's Business Plan for 2019.

      The event targeted Compliance consultancy firms, law firms, accountancy firms and others supporting new applicants seeking authorisation from the DFSA. Over seventy percent of the external advisors assisting applicants seeking authorisation in the Centre were represented at the event.

      - 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, Managing Director, Supervision, joined the DFSA in 2008 and has served as a Managing Director since 2010. Mr Stirewalt's responsibilities include prudential and conduct-oriented oversight of financial service providers and overseeing the DFSA's role with Registered Auditors, CRAs and DNFBPs. Within his primary areas of responsibilities, he also directs the DFSA's efforts in fighting methods of illicit finance. He has extensive experience in financial regulation in public and private sector roles. From 1985 to 1996, he worked for the US Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as a National Bank Examiner, where he specialised in policy development and implementation, problem bank rehabilitation and banking fraud initiatives. From 1996 to 2008, he worked for an international consulting and advisory firm, focusing on emerging markets development programmes in Poland, Ukraine, Cyprus and Kazakhstan. Mr Stirewalt serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the BCBS's engagement with global supervisors on banking supervisory issues.

    • 5 December 2018 — DFSA signs MoU with Bank Negara Malaysia

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, 5 December 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority ("DFSA") has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding ("MoU") with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the country's central bank, to cooperate in the authorisation and supervision of banks and insurers operating in both markets.

      The MoU was signed by the Chief Executive of the DFSA, Bryan Stirewalt, and the Deputy Governor of Bank Negara, Jessica Chew Cheng Lian. The official signing took place on the sidelines of the 2018 International Conference of Banking Supervisors, an event hosted in Abu Dhabi by the Central Bank of the UAE, and in which both Stirewalt and Chew participated.

      Stirewalt said: "The DFSA and Bank Negara Malaysia have long enjoyed a strong and close relationship, particularly in the area of Islamic Finance. In recognition of Malaysia's and Dubai's commitment and prominence in this field, the DFSA previously entered into an MoU with Bank Negara in March 2007, with the object of further developing the international Islamic Finance markets."

      Stirewalt added: "The signing of the MoU with Bank Negara Malaysia underscores our shared commitment to maintaining the highest standards of supervision and the joint promotion of a stable financial services sector in our respective jurisdictions. The MoU also builds upon our strategic goal of ensuring continued international engagement and strengthening our regulatory ties."

      The MoU anticipates the presence of Malaysian institutions, including those offering Islamic Finance, in the Dubai International Financial Centre ("DIFC"), and formalises arrangements for regulatory cooperation and establishes a framework for exchange of information and regular dialogue between both regulators.

      - 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 has also accepted a delegation of powers from the DIFC Registrar of Companies (RoC) to investigate the affairs of DIFC companies and partnerships.

      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.

    • 27 November 2018 — SCA, the DFSA and the ADGM's FSRA reach agreement on the licensing and promotion of investment funds

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 27 November 2018: 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 the Abu Dhabi Global Market ("ADGM") announced today that they had reached agreement on facilitating the licensing of domestic funds by each authority for promotion across the UAE.

      The three authorities signed the regulatory agreement in Dubai in the presence of H.E. Eng. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy and the SCA Board Chairman, and H.E. Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State to the UAE and Chairman of the ADGM. The agreement was signed by Dr. Obaid Al Zaabi, Chief Executive Officer of SCA, Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA and Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer of the FSRA.

      Following the signing, H.E. Sultan Al Mansoori Minister of Economy and Chairman of the SCA, said: "Signing this agreement and implementing its provisions will foster the relations between the three authorities. It will facilitate the licensing and promoting of investment funds to attract foreign investment. It will also pave the way for savings to be directed towards new financial instruments such as investment funds and activate a number of financial services and activities related to investment funds such as custodian, investment management, and promoting, as well as the management of investment funds."

      His Excellency added that the agreement implements passporting mutual recognition as a regulatory mechanism for the promotion and supervision of investment funds, and encourages foreign licensed firms in financial free zones based in other countries to move to the UAE market.

      The agreement contributes to the realisation of one of the main roles assigned to SCA, and that is to provide the appropriate environment for the investment of savings and funds in securities in line with the objectives of the country's economic development.

      H.E. Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State to the UAE and Chairman of ADGM said: "We welcome this partnership to strengthen UAE's position as an international financial and business hub. This collaboration will enable greater number of current and new market participants, investors and institutions to access growth opportunities in the UAE and wider region and support the growth of the capital markets. The passporting regime dovetails well with ADGM's ongoing efforts to maintain a robust and innovative financial services market to support the dynamic needs of our economy. ADGM will continue to uphold the highest international regulatory standards and practices, in the best interests of our investors and marketplace."

      Mr Saeb Eigner, Chairman of the DFSA said: “This agreement between peer regulators reflects our joint efforts to encourage the development of the domestic funds market and create a stronger and more diversified financial market in the UAE. The DFSA remains committed to developing the financial services sector and fostering long-term economic growth for the UAE. This move supports the vision of the DIFC's Founder H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, implemented by DIFC's President H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into a global and dynamic financial centre and an attractive hub for international investment business. Cooperating with our fellow regulators in the UAE and around the world is a cornerstone of our regulatory approach and has been a key factor in establishing and maintaining trust and confidence in our international financial centre."

      The SCA, DFSA, and FSRA agreed on a common legislative framework in their respective jurisdictions, enabling them, to facilitate regulatory coordination amongst them in licensing domestic funds upon the adoption of the legislation. The three bodies confirmed that funds, which are licensed in accordance with the provisions of this agreement and the licensing regulations, may be promoted in or from the financial free zones in the UAE, in line with the provisions of the agreement and the licensing regulations. Under the terms of the agreement, a notification and registration facility will be established by each regulator, facilitating the promotion and sale of domestic funds, set up within the UAE, outside the financial free zones, or in either of the DIFC or ADGM, to potential investors situated anywhere in the UAE, and under a single licence.

      The SCA, DFSA, and the FSRA have also agreed to establish common rules to implement the regulatory agreement.

      The regime is expected to stimulate the development of the domestic investment funds market by encouraging the establishment of new investment funds, in addition to facilitating the process of conducting business in the UAE.

      Based on this agreement, the regime will provide greater protection to investors, as a result of the enhanced exchange of regulatory information amongst the regulatory bodies in relation to the promotion and sale of local investment fund units in the UAE.

      The DFSA and FSRA will shortly commence consultation on the proposed regime.

      The SCA regulates the capital markets operating in the UAE, with the exception of financial free zones, and the DFSA is the independent regulator of financial services conducted in or from the DIFC, whilst the FSRA is the independent regulator for financial services in or from the ADGM.

      - Ends -

    • 5 November 2018 — Robo-advisory Firm Sarwa, First to Graduate from DFSA's Regulatory Sandbox

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 05 November 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority ("DFSA") is pleased to announce that robo-advisory firm, Sarwa, has become the first participant to graduate from its regulatory sandbox following nearly 12 months of testing. As the first firm within the Dubai International Financial Centre ("DIFC") to be granted an Innovation Testing Licence ("ITL"), Sarwa promises to: "make investing easier, secure and more affordable by offering customers simpler way to invest their earnings for long-term financial growth."

      During the testing period, the DFSA closely observed Sarwa as the company fine-tuned its automated business, while simultaneously developing its internal capabilities. This included continuous monitoring, ongoing engagement and frequent feedback. The rigorous process allowed the DFSA to deepen its understanding of Sarwa's underlying operating model, while the firm tested its services within a safe and controlled environment.

      Sarwa's successful completion of its Regulatory Test Plan, and exiting the ITL, demonstrates the importance of regulatory sandboxes in fostering innovation and facilitating both established companies and start-ups as they create new and exciting solutions in financial services.

      The DFSA's support of FinTech development is aligned with the National Innovation Strategy set out by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minster of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to form an innovation-friendly nation. Other initiatives that the DFSA supports in similar vein include the Dubai Plan 2021 and Smart Dubai.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said "When we first introduced the ITL programme our goal was to offer firms the flexibility to test their new business models and solutions, so they can develop innovative products and services to tackle the growing needs of the region's financial services industry. Sarwa's progress is the first tangible demonstration that this goal can be achieved. We look forward to more firms following suit."

      The DFSA continues to receive positive feedback around its regulatory sandbox and encourages firms with innovative ideas to apply for the 2018 winter cohort, which is currently accepting applications through the DFSA website. A list of the firms that have been accepted into the cohort will be finalised on 16 December, after which they may submit an ITL application by 17 January 2019. Online submission links will only be active during these dates; therefore, firms should put together their submission forms at the earliest opportunity.
      The DFSA's cohort process and ITL initiatives go hand in hand with FinTech Hive at DIFC, the region's first FinTech accelerator, which aims to bring together the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs to address the growing needs of the region's financial services industry.

      For more information on the ITL programme and cohort application process please visit the following FAQ section or 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 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 has also accepted a delegation of powers from the DIFC Registrar of Companies (RoC) to investigate the affairs of DIFC companies and partnerships.

      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.

      Sarwa
      Sarwa is an automated investment advisory firm based in the Dubai International Financial Centre and the first company to be granted an Innovation Testing Licence by the Dubai Financial Services Authority. Sarwa combines innovative technology and human advice to make expert level investing available for everyone. With a low account minimum and a low advisory fee, Sarwa aims to make investing easy, secure and affordable by offering customers the simplest and most cost-effective way to invest their earnings for long-term financial growth. The platform provides rebalancing services, algorithms combined with personalised human advice, account opening in a few minutes via facial recognition, and more. The company was founded by a team of finance, technology, and user-experience experts and is backed by top regional and international Venture Capital firms.

    • 24 October 2018 — DFSA to Open Second Cohort for Innovation Testing Licence ("ITL") Applications

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 24 October 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority ("DFSA") is pleased to announce that round two of the cohort process, which enables companies to apply for an Innovation Testing Licence ("ITL"), is set to open shortly. Interested firms, locally-based or international, are encouraged to apply online to be part of the cohort through the DFSA website between 1 and 30 November, 2018.

      The cohort system was developed in response to the positive responses generated by the ITL programme and is a prerequisite for firms to be able to apply for an ITL. Going forward, there will be two open cohorts per year, in which applicants for the cohort should provide the DFSA with a clear understanding of their business model and proposed innovation.

      A list of the firms that have been accepted into the cohort will be finalised on December 16, after which they may submit an ITL application by 17 January 2019. Online submission links will only be active during these dates; therefore, firms are encouraged to put together their submission forms at the earliest. The DFSA will also be launching a FAQ section on their website setting out key information related to the ITL programme and cohort application.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said "The industry's response to the ITL programme has been overwhelmingly positive as demonstrated by the volume of applications received since its launch. Its value and the overall attractiveness of DIFC's FinTech environment is clear in the eyes of our stakeholders. Therefore, we will continue to evaluate the programme and improve it as we move forward, to ensure it remains useful and serves the purpose it is designed for efficiently. We look forward to welcoming applications from innovative FinTech firms."

      The ITL programme, which was first introduced in May 2017, works by enabling firms to test FinTech solutions in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre ("DIFC"). As part of the DFSA's strategy to foster an innovation-friendly ecosystem, the programme's core benefit lies in allowing companies to apply for a restricted financial services licence that provides the flexibility to test and develop their concepts without being subject to the full regulatory requirements that normally apply to regulated firms.

      For more information about the cohort application process or ITL programme, please 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 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 has also accepted a delegation of powers from the DIFC Registrar of Companies (RoC) to investigate the affairs of DIFC companies and partnerships.

      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.

      DIFC Fintech Hive
      The DFSA's cohort process and Innovation Testing Licence ("ITL") initiatives go hand in hand with the FinTech Hive, which was launched at the beginning of 2017 at the DIFC, to bring together the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs to compete and address the growing needs of the region's financial services industry, using innovative technology solutions.

    • 3 October 2018 — Mohammed bin Rashid Enacts DIFC Regulatory Amendment Law

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 3 October 2018: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, has enacted the Regulatory Law Amendment Law, DIFC Law No. (6) of 2018. The Law, which amends the Regulatory Law 2004, will come into force on 29 October 2018 and, together with changes to DFSA Anti-Money Laundering Rules, will make a number of important changes to the regulatory regime in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

      The amendments follow a self-assessment of the DIFC framework in preparation for the upcoming UAE Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Mutual Evaluation in 2019. The amendments will enhance the anti-money laundering and counterterrorist financing (AML/CTF) regime. This will support the ongoing alignment of the DIFC regime with the FATF recommendations.

      The changes include updating the DFSA's approach to registration and supervision of Designated Non-Financial Businesses or Professions (DNFBPs). This includes a prohibition from conducting any DNFBP activities, in or from the DIFC, without registration by the DFSA. The changes also include enhancements to the supervisory regime, which will enable the DFSA to suspend or withdraw the registration of a DNFBP, if it is in breach of the Law or the Rules or other AML legislation.

      In order to ensure the orderly transition of DNFBPs already established in the Centre to the new regime, the DFSA clarified that the transitional arrangements would apply over a three-month period from effective date of the Law. These matters would include confirming the identity of the Money Laundering Reporting Officer, senior management and beneficial ownership information.

      The changes also strengthen the DFSA's regulatory approach to how firms carry out Customer Due Diligence to ensure alignment with FATF Recommendations. The DFSA has prepared a Question and Answer document, addressing the most commonly posed questions in response to Consultation Papers 118 and 120, which proposed the changes discussed above.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive Officer of the DFSA said: “The DFSA welcomes these changes and sees them as an important step towards enhancing the AML/CTF regime. I believe they will also improve the supervisory oversight of DNFBPs. We also see these as appropriate changes to support the growth of the DIFC, to continue to position it as the financial hub of choice for international firms in the region, and to contribute to the UAE's upcoming FATF Mutual Evaluation that is due in 2019.

      The DFSA's work on AML will continue, to ensure our approach is in line with best international practice. We expect that there will be further enhancements to our regime as the UAE completes its preparation for the Mutual Evaluation."

      The Amendments to DIFC laws, together with associated amendments to DFSA Rules, will come into force on 29 October, 2018 and are available on the DFSA website under: http://www.dfsa.ae/MediaRelease/News/Notice-of-Amendments-to-Legislation-(6)
      The Questions and Answers document prepared by the DFSA, can be found on the following link: https://www.dfsa.ae/CMSPages/GetFile.aspx?guid=f51814ed-f99e-4479-9190-7c9643b396e8

      - 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.

      Over his time with the DFSA, Bryan has played a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. His responsibilities have included prudential and conductoriented oversight of financial service providers in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), in addition to the DFSA's regulatory role with Registered Auditors and Credit Rating Agencies. He has also directed the DFSA's efforts in fighting methods of illicit finance, including the crucial regulatory relationships with Designated Non- Financial Businesses and Professions.

      Prior to joining the DFSA, Bryan developed his skills over a career that spans more than 30 years. He has held a number of senior positions in financial regulation, both in the public and in private sectors. From 1985 to 1996, he worked for the US Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as a National Bank Examiner, specialising in policy development and implementation, problem bank rehabilitation and banking fraud initiatives. From 1996 until joining the DFSA in 2008, he worked for an international consulting and advisory firm, focusing on emerging markets development programmes in Poland, Ukraine, Cyprus and Kazakhstan.

      In relation to international development, Bryan plays an active role in supporting the work of international standardsetting 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.

    • 27 September 2018 — DFSA signs FinTech Agreement with Japan's Financial Services Agency

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 27 September 2018: With its continued efforts to encourage the adoption of technological advancements in the market, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) entered yesterday into an Exchange Of Letters with the Financial Services Agency of Japan (FSA) to cooperate in the development of financial technology (FinTech). The cooperation framework reflects efforts by both authorities to foster innovation in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) as well as in Japan.

      The agreement was signed by Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA, and Toshihide Endo, Commissioner at Japan's FSA. Under the terms, and given the global nature of innovation in financial services, the authorities will share information on developments in FinTech and ensure the efficient entry of financial innovators into the respective markets.

      Ian Johnston said: "We are very pleased to strengthen our long-established collaboration with Japan's FSA and to enhance our cooperation on matters related to innovation in financial services. This is testament to our commitment to foster effective agreements with peer regulators across the globe, engaging on emerging FinTech topics. We look forward to working with Japan's FSA to develop our FinTech proposition and contribute to the efficiency and further enhancements of our respective financial markets. This step aligns seamlessly with the National Innovation Strategy to make the UAE a global hub for innovation, as set out by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum."

      The purpose of this cooperation is to provide a regulatory framework for discussion and a referral mechanism, which will enable the authorities to refer financial innovators between their respective innovation functions. It also sets out how the Authorities plan to share and use relevant information in their respective markets.

      A series of other initiatives took place in Japan during the same week to support FinTech developments. A delegation of senior DFSA executives, led by Peter Smith, Managing Director, Policy and Strategy, met with FSA counterparts in Tokyo to initiate collaboration between the DFSA and Japan's FSA on FinTech and crypto-asset developments. The visit also included participation in FIN/SUM, the largest FinTech summit in Japan, connecting the global financial and technology industries and promoting disruptive innovation across the globe. Mr Smith also spoke on international cooperation in the oversight of crypto-assets at a roundtable co-hosted by the FSA and by the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO).

      The DFSA has consistently been advocating regulatory collaboration, as illustrated by the wide network of agreements so far put in place with other international financial regulators in relation to FinTech, namely: the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong Insurance Authority, the Malaysian Securities Commission among others.

      With its extensive efforts to support FinTech, the DFSA is changing the face of financial regulation and setting precedents in the region with an extensive innovation strategy, a key part of which was the earlier launch of DFSA's Innovation Testing Licence, which allows FinTech firms to develop and test innovative concepts from the DIFC. In August last year, the DFSA became the first regulator to launch a tailored regime for loan and investment crowdfunding platforms in the GCC. The DFSA also participated this year in the issuance of a discussion paper for the establishment of a Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) of leading global regulators, which seeks to conduct joint work and share experiences of financial innovation, to improve financial stability, integrity, customer outcomes and inclusion.

      - 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 has also accepted a delegation of powers from the DIFC Registrar of Companies (RoC) to investigate the affairs of DIFC companies and partnerships.

      Ian Johnston was appointed as Chief Executive of the DFSA in June 2012. Mr Johnston joined the DFSA in November 2006, as a Managing Director, to head the Policy and Legal Services Division.

      Mr Johnston was admitted to practice Law in Australia in the early 1980s and has spent most of his career in the private sector. He held a number of senior positions within the financial sector and was CEO of one of Australia's major Trustee Companies. During that time, Mr Johnston played a leading role in the Trustee industry and served on the National Council of the Trustee Corporations Association.

      In 1999, Mr Johnston joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission where he held the position of Executive Director, Financial Services regulation, and spent several terms as an acting Commissioner. In 2005, Mr Johnston took up a position with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission as a Special Advisor.

      Mr Johnston is a past Chairman of the Joint Forum, which comprise representatives of the major international regulatory standard-setters (IOSCO, IAIS and the Basel Committee). In August 2016, he was re-elected to IOSCO's Growth and Emerging Markets Steering Committee, a position he has held since 2013. He is also a member of the Financial Stability and Technical Committee (FSTC) of the IAIS, the global standard-setting body for insurance regulation, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Standards Board (from Jan 2011 – Mar 2016).

      The DFSA's initiatives go hand in hand with the FinTech Hive, which was launched at the beginning of 2017 at the DIFC, to bring together the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs to compete and address the growing needs of the region's financial services industry, using innovative technology solutions.

    • 12 September 2018 — DFSA Board Appoints Bryan Stirewalt as Next Chief Executive

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      Dubai, UAE, 12 September 2018: The Board of Directors ("Board") of the Dubai Financial Services Authority ("DFSA") has today announced, following a global search, the appointment of Bryan Stirewalt as the next Chief Executive of the DFSA. Bryan will succeed Ian Johnston, who in late 2017 announced his intention to retire from the DFSA. The appointment will take effect from 1 October 2018. During his tenure, Ian made a significant contribution to the DFSA and was key to its development as a strong and internationally respected regulator, as well as to the development of the Dubai International Financial Centre ("DIFC").

      Bryan Stirewalt is an acclaimed financial regulator with a career that spans over 30 years in various public and private sector roles. He has been with the DFSA for 10 years, serving for the last eight years as Managing Director, Supervision. Bryan has extensive experience in financial regulation and played 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 country supervisors.

      Bryan commented on his appointment saying: "I am honoured to take on this role and would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the Board for entrusting me with this responsibility. I am very privileged to step into the Chief Executive role and look forward to further contributing to the DFSA's work in delivering world-class financial regulation in the DIFC."

      Saeb Eigner, Chairman of the DFSA, commented: "The DFSA plays a crucial role as the independent financial regulator of the DIFC. Bryan has played a vital part in executing the DFSA's regulatory mandate and developing its risk-based supervision framework. He comes with wide international experience combined with a thorough knowledge of the workings of the DFSA and the context in which it operates. The Board of Directors and I are looking forward to working with and supporting Bryan as he takes the lead in steering the work of the DFSA and further developing its capability as a robust regulator."

      Mr. Eigner added: "On behalf of the Board, I wish to convey our warm appreciation to Ian for his many achievements, which include his leading role in enhancing the reputation of the DFSA as an internationally respected regulator, driving regulatory policy formation, participating in the work of international standard-setting bodies and managing the DFSA efficiently. During his term, the DFSA became a signatory to important international bodies such as the International Organisation of Securities Commissions and the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, to name but two. He has also strengthened our relationship with other UAE regulatory authorities. I am sure that Bryan will build successfully on this legacy."

      - 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.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Managing Director, Supervision, joined the DFSA in 2008 and has served as a Managing Director since 2010. Mr Stirewalt's responsibilities include prudential and conduct-oriented oversight of financial service providers and overseeing the DFSA's role with Registered Auditors and CRAs. Mr Stirewalt also directs the DFSA's efforts to fight methods of illicit finance within his primary areas of responsibilities, as well as with DNFBPs. He has extensive experience in financial regulation in public and private sector roles.

      From 1985 to 1996, he worked for the US Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as a National Bank Examiner, where he specialised in policy development and implementation, problem bank rehabilitation and banking fraud initiatives. From 1996 to 2008, he worked for an international consulting and advisory firm, focusing on emerging markets development programmes in Poland, Ukraine, Cyprus and Kazakhstan. Mr Stirewalt serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG) which provides a forum for deepening the BCBS's engagement with global supervisors on banking supervisory issues.

      Saeb Eigner was appointed DFSA Chairman in August 2011. He has been a member of the Board since October 2004 and served as Deputy Chairman from 2007 until 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 Lonworld, a private investment group in the early 1990s. 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 currently a 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 and/or has held a number of Board appointments in Banking, Strategy, Education, Regulation and Investment.

    • 29 August 2018 — DFSA and Monetary Authority of Singapore Sign FinTech Agreement

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      Dubai, UAE, 29 August, 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today entered into an agreement that provides a framework for cooperation and referrals between the innovation teams of each authority. The agreement reflects the commitment of both authorities to develop an environment that supports the sustainable development of financial services through emerging technology.

      The DFSA's Chief Executive, Ian Johnston said: “We are pleased to formalise an agreement with MAS to support the growth of innovation in financial services. Cooperation between MAS and the DFSA will help create synergies and greater understanding between our two markets and will enable FinTech firms to extend their reach globally."

      The agreement centres on a referral mechanism which will enable the authorities to refer innovator businesses between their respective innovation functions. It also sets out a process to share and use information on innovation in their respective markets.

      Furthermore, the agreement formalises intensions of both authorities to work on joint innovation projects on the application of key technologies such as digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, big data, flexible platforms (API), and other areas of new technologies.

      The DFSA and MAS are both also members of the recently established Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), which consists of 12 financial regulators and associated organisations from around the world. The GFIN seeks to conduct joint work and share experiences of financial innovation, to improve financial stability, integrity, customer outcomes and inclusion. Members of GFIN include regulators from the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Australia.

      The GFIN builds upon the bilateral relationships each regulator has in place. For example, the DFSA has bilateral FinTech cooperation agreements in place with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong Insurance Authority, and the Malaysian Securities Commission.

      The collaboration around FinTech extends a long-standing relationship between the DFSA and the MAS who have had a memorandum of understanding in place since 2008, providing a formal basis for supervisory cooperation in banking, insurance and capital markets. It facilitates the exchange of information for supervisory purposes between the two authorities.

      This latest initiative forms part of the DFSA's innovation strategy, which complements the National Innovation Strategy, as set out by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make the UAE a global hub for innovation.

      - 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).

      Ian Johnston was appointed as Chief Executive of the DFSA in June 2012. Mr Johnston joined the DFSA in November 2006, as a Managing Director, to head the Policy and Legal Services Division.

      Mr Johnston was admitted to practice Law in Australia in the early 1980s and has spent most of his career in the private sector. He held a number of senior positions within the financial sector and was CEO of one of Australia's major Trustee Companies. During that time, Mr Johnston played a leading role in the Trustee industry and served on the National Council of the Trustee Corporations Association.

      In 1999, Mr Johnston joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission where he held the position of Executive Director, Financial Services Regulation, and spent several terms as an acting Commissioner. In 2005, Mr Johnston took up a position with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission as a Special Advisor.

      Mr Johnston is a past Chairman of the Joint Forum, which comprises representatives of the major international regulatory standard-setters (IOSCO, IAIS and the Basel Committee). In November 2013, he was elected to the Steering Group of IOSCO's Growth and Emerging Markets Committee. He is also a member of the Financial Stability and Technical Committee (FSTC) of the IAIS, the global standard-setting body for insurance regulation, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Standards Board (from Jan 2011 – Mar 2016).

    • 7 August 2018 — DFSA Joins Peers in discussion on a Global Financial Innovation Network

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 07 August, 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), in collaboration with 11 other financial regulators and associated organisations from around the world, has today issued a discussion paper announcing the establishment of a Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) and consulting on its proposed functions.

      The GFIN is a network of leading global regulators, which will seek to conduct joint work and share experiences of financial innovation, to improve financial stability, integrity, customer outcomes and inclusion, through the responsible adoption of emerging technologies and business models. GFIN has launched this paper to seek views on its mission statement, its proposed functions, and where it should prioritise activity. Members of GFIN include regulators from the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Australia.

      Ian Johnston, Chief Executive at the DFSA, said: “The DFSA has always been an advocate of regulatory collaboration to build strong and stable financial markets that work for all, as illustrated by our active membership on international standardsetting bodies and our extensive network of bi-lateral and multi-lateral agreements. By joining the GFIN, the DFSA intends to continue this work to ensure that the development of innovative financial services takes place sustainably and effectively, across borders."

      The GFIN will complement the DFSA's existing initiatives in FinTech, which includes a regulatory framework for crowdfunding platforms and its own sandbox under the Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) programme. The ITL programme was launched in May last year to provide FinTech operators a controlled environment to test out innovative financial services concepts with clients in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

      The DFSA also has bilateral FinTech cooperation agreements in place with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the Hong Kong Insurance Authority, the Malaysian Securities Commission, and discussions with other key, innovative counterparts are underway.

      This latest development forms part of the DFSA's innovation strategy, which complements the National Innovation Strategy, as set out by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make the UAE a global hub for innovation.

      The paper can be accessed here [https://www.dfsa.ae/getattachment/1e2b52a3-00a6-4890-a5a3-094ccdd554d4/5779-GFIN-consultation-paper-draft-FINAL.PDF.aspx].

      - 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).

      Ian Johnston was appointed as Chief Executive of the DFSA in June 2012. Mr Johnston joined the DFSA in November 2006, as a Managing Director, to head the Policy and Legal Services Division.

      Mr Johnston was admitted to practice Law in Australia in the early 1980s and has spent most of his career in the private sector. He held a number of senior positions within the financial sector and was CEO of one of Australia's major Trustee Companies. During that time, Mr Johnston played a leading role in the Trustee industry and served on the National Council of the Trustee Corporations Association.

      In 1999, Mr Johnston joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission where he held the position of Executive Director, Financial Services Regulation, and spent several terms as an acting Commissioner. In 2005, Mr Johnston took up a position with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission as a Special Advisor.

      Mr Johnston is a past Chairman of the Joint Forum, which comprises representatives of the major international regulatory standard-setters (IOSCO, IAIS and the Basel Committee). In November 2013, he was elected to the Steering Group of IOSCO's Growth and Emerging Markets Committee. He is also a member of the Financial Stability and Technical Committee (FSTC) of the IAIS, the global standard-setting body for insurance regulation, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Standards Board (from Jan 2011 – Mar 2016).

    • 16 July 2018 — DFSA fines Al Ramz and former employee for failing to cooperate and provide information regarding an investigation

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 16 July, 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today announced that it has fined Al Ramz Capital LLC (Al Ramz) and its former Head of Information Technology, Mr Najim Al Attar, for serious failures to provide complete and accurate information relevant to a DFSA investigation which commenced in 2014.

      The DFSA imposed a fine of USD 205,200 (AED 753,084) on Al Ramz, which is a Recognised Member of NASDAQ Dubai. Al Ramz is also required to pay USD 100,000 (AED 367,000) towards the DFSA's investigation costs. In addition, the DFSA imposed a fine of USD 32,640 (AED 119,789) against Mr Al Attar.

      The DFSA's action follows an investigation that initially focused on trading on NASDAQ Dubai by Al Ramz and others, which the DFSA suspected may have breached Part 6 of the DIFC Markets Law 2012. The DFSA later expanded the scope of its investigation to include further suspected contraventions, including obstructing the DFSA's investigation and providing information which was false, misleading and deceptive.

      While the trading in question was eventually found not to be in breach of Part 6 of the DIFC Markets Law 2012, the DFSA found that during the investigation Al Ramz had failed to comply fully with requirements to provide the DFSA with information relevant to the investigation and deal with the DFSA in an open and cooperative manner. Al Ramz's misconduct included:

      •   misleading the DFSA about the users of computers used by two Al Ramz brokers at the time of the trading in question;
      •   selectively withholding from the DFSA certain material communications (including emails and recordings of telephone calls) relevant to certain trading;
      •   failing to disclose that a member of Al Ramz's senior management was centrally involved in such trading; and
      •   failing to disclose close family relationships between the Al Ramz client connected to the trading and certain senior members of Al Ramz's staff, including its senior management.

      In relation to Mr Al Attar, the DFSA found that he:

      •   engaged in conduct intended to obstruct the DFSA in the exercise of its powers, without having a reasonable excuse for doing so; and
      •   provided information that was false or misleading to the DFSA, and concealed information where the concealment of such information was likely to mislead the DFSA.

      Mr Al Attar's misconduct included:

      •   reconfiguring computers of two Al Ramz brokers and providing these to the DFSA while claiming falsely that they were the computers used by the brokers at the time of the trading in question. In so doing, Mr Al Attar attempted to mislead the DFSA into believing they were the computers used by the brokers when that was not the case;
      •   altering the email account of one of the Al Ramz brokers in an attempt to remove all email messages sent or received by that broker for the relevant period and conceal them from the DFSA;
      •   deleting relevant electronic data collected during a DFSA inspection visit;
      •   refusing to provide the DFSA with certain relevant electronic data stored on Al Ramz's IT system, and instructing a junior member of Al Ramz's IT team not to provide the DFSA with such data; and
      •   providing false and misleading information to the DFSA regarding Al Ramz's IT system.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive at the DFSA, said: "The DFSA takes the failure to provide complete and accurate information very seriously. It is imperative that regulated persons, including Recognised Members of an Exchange, deal with the DFSA in an open and cooperative manner. In this matter, Al Ramz's conduct prolonged the DFSA's investigation and prevented the DFSA from obtaining relevant information at the appropriate time.

      "This conduct caused the DFSA to incur considerable and otherwise unnecessary investigative costs, which is why it is appropriate for Al Ramz to reimburse the DFSA. Further, the DFSA has very low tolerance for individuals who take steps to obstruct our investigations or provide us with false and misleading information."

      Al Ramz and Mr Al Attar each agreed to settle the DFSA's action against them. In reaching settlement, the DFSA agreed to reduce the fine imposed on Al Ramz by 10%, and the fine imposed on Mr Al Attar by 20%, under the DFSA's policy for early settlement. Were it not for these discounts, the fines would have been USD 228,000 (AED 836,760) for Al Ramz, and USD 40,800 (AED 149,736) for Mr Al Attar.

      The detailed reasons for the DFSA's action against Al Ramz are set out in the DFSA's Decision Notice dated 28 June 2018 which can be found in the Regulatory Actions section of the DFSA website: https://www.dfsa.ae/en/What-We-Do/Enforcement#Regulatory-Actions

      The detailed reasons for the DFSA's action against Mr Al Attar are set out in the DFSA's Decision Notice dated 28 May 2018 which can be found in the Regulatory Actions section of the DFSA website: 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 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).

      Ian Johnston was appointed as Chief Executive of the DFSA in June 2012. Mr Johnston joined the DFSA in November 2006, as a Managing Director, to head the Policy and Legal Services Division.

      Mr Johnston was admitted to practice Law in Australia in the early 1980s and has spent most of his career in the private sector. He held a number of senior positions within the financial sector and was CEO of one of Australia's major Trustee Companies. During that time, Mr Johnston played a leading role in the Trustee industry and served on the National Council of the Trustee Corporations Association.

      In 1999, Mr Johnston joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission where he held the position of Executive Director, Financial Services Regulation, and spent several terms as an acting Commissioner. In 2005, Mr Johnston took up a position with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission as a Special Advisor.

      Mr Johnston is a past Chairman of the Joint Forum, which comprises representatives of the major international regulatory standard-setters (IOSCO, IAIS and the Basel Committee). In November 2013, he was elected to the Steering Group of IOSCO's Growth and Emerging Markets Committee. He is also a member of the Financial Stability and Technical Committee (FSTC) of the IAIS, the global standard-setting body for insurance regulation, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Standards Board (from Jan 2011 – Mar 2016).

    • 2 July 2018 — DFSA Hosts 4th Annual Supervision Session

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 02 July, 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) held its Annual Supervision Outreach Session with the Compliance Officers Network Group (CONG) last week, to discuss key developments and priorities for the financial services industry in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The annual event serves as a platform for the DFSA to engage with its regulated community and other stakeholders in respect of its key regulatory priorities such as cyber risks, fighting financial crime, and ensuring suitability of financial products and services.

      Over the course of the event, the DFSA provided updates on its current and future policy agenda, trends in recent regulatory actions, and current risks and issues in the banking, broking, insurance and wealth management sectors. The event also enabled participants to discuss the continued opportunities presented by FinTech, InsurTech and RegTech and the various initiatives being undertaken by the DIFC and the DFSA to support the United Arab Emirate's National Innovation Strategy launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to make the UAE a global hub for innovation.

      In his opening remarks, Bryan Stirewalt, Managing Director, Supervision at the DFSA, said: "The DIFC continues to serve as the hub for financial services in the Middle East and North Africa region. It is a key part of our mandate to ensure that we are effectively engaged with our regulated population to understand evolving trends and the impact these will have on our market. This event has become a strong tradition for the DFSA as a chance to reach out to the regulated community in the DIFC."

      The event was targeted at the DFSA-regulated entities, including compliance officers and money laundering reporting officers from its Authorised Firms and Designated Non-Financial Businesses or Professions (DNFBPs). Over 300 participants attended this year's event, representing many of the 491 Authorised Firms, 121 DNFBPs and 16 Registered Auditors now operating in the DIFC.

      - 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, Managing Director, Supervision, joined the DFSA in 2008 and has served as a Managing Director since 2010. Mr Stirewalt's responsibilities include prudential and conduct-oriented oversight of financial service providers and overseeing the DFSA's role with Registered Auditors, CRAs and DNFBPs. Within his primary areas of responsibilities, he also directs the DFSA's efforts in fighting methods of illicit finance. He has extensive experience in financial regulation in public and private sector roles. From 1985 to 1996, he worked for the US Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as a National Bank Examiner, where he specialised in policy development and implementation, problem bank rehabilitation and banking fraud initiatives. From 1996 to 2008, he worked for an international consulting and advisory firm, focusing on emerging markets development programmes in Poland, Ukraine, Cyprus and Kazakhstan. Mr Stirewalt serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the BCBS's engagement with global supervisors on banking supervisory issues.

    • 21 June 2018 — DFSA signs MoU with Astana Financial Services Authority

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 21 June, 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Astana Financial Services Authority (AFSA).

      The MoU was signed in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) by Mr Bryan Stirewalt, Managing Director, Supervision of the DFSA, and Mr Stephen Glynn, Chief Executive Officer, AFSA . The signing was also attended by Mr Waleed Saeed Al Awadhi, Chief Operating Officer at the DFSA.

      The MoU follows the close collaboration between the DIFC bodies and the Republic of Kazakhstan to establish the Astana International Financial Centre which has been modelled on the DIFC. It sets out a framework for the two authorities to work together for the continued development of their legal and regulatory regimes including through information and personnel exchange and training.

      Mr Stirewalt said: "We are pleased to enter into an agreement with the Astana Financial Services Authority setting out a framework of cooperation for the continued development of sound and fair financial regulatory mechanisms and capital markets in both our markets. We firmly believe that cooperation between regulators is paramount to creating a more stable financial system."

      Mr Al Awadhi said: "The DFSA has 104 bi-lateral MoUs with regulators globally, and five multi-lateral MoUs. These agreements demonstrate our commitment to building strong relationships with regional and international regulators and this comes from our focus on cooperation and collaboration in the sustainable development of global financial markets."

      Mr Glynn said: "The AFSA looks forward to a long and productive relationship with the DFSA. The DFSA lead the development of bespoke international financial centres in the Middle East and has become a model of sound regulatory practice. Our vision is to create a regulatory ecosystem equal to the DIFC and other advanced international jurisdictions. Part of our success will be dependent on our ability to share information with our peers so that we can deliver an international standard of regulation."

      - 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, Managing Director, Supervision, joined the DFSA in 2008 and has served as a Managing Director since 2010. Mr Stirewalt's responsibilities include prudential and conduct-oriented oversight of financial service providers and overseeing the DFSA's role with Registered Auditors, CRAs and DNFBPs. Within his primary areas of responsibilities, he also directs the DFSA's efforts in fighting methods of illicit finance. He has extensive experience in financial regulation in public and private sector roles. From 1985 to 1996, he worked for the US Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as a National Bank Examiner, where he specialised in policy development and implementation, problem bank rehabilitation and banking fraud initiatives. From 1996 to 2008, he worked for an international consulting and advisory firm, focusing on emerging markets development programmes in Poland, Ukraine, Cyprus and Kazakhstan. Mr Stirewalt serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the BCBS's engagement with global supervisors on banking supervisory issues.

      Waleed Saeed Al Awadhi, Chief Operating Officer joined the DFSA in March 2013. He has over 16 years of international and local experience in leadership and strategy roles in financial services, Islamic banking, real estate, media and telecommunication industries. He is responsible for strategic operational excellence at the DFSA by leading 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 standard-setters. He plays a leading role in building UAE National capabilities both at the DFSA and the broader society. Previously, Mr Al Awadhi led the Marketing and Communication division at the 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 led Royal Banking and Wealth Management, Branding, Marketing and Communications. He was also the Global Director of Marketing and Sales at Sama Dubai, a member of Dubai Holding, and was responsible for over 20 international markets. Mr Al Awadhi has a Master of Laws with double major in Arbitration & Dispute Resolution and Financial Crimes & Money Laundering and a Bachelor degree in Applied Business Science. He is a Harvard Alumni and has completed the General Management Program (GMP) at the Harvard Business School. Mr Al Awadhi has published his first book entitled 'The Sustainability of Family Businesses in the United Arab Emirates – A Legal and Operational Perspective For Best Practice.' An article based on his book has been published in the International Company and Commercial Law Review.

    • 28 May 2018 — DFSA obtains DIFC Courts Judgement to Enforce a Fine

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 28 May 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has recently obtained judgment in the DIFC Courts' Court of First Instance to enforce payment of a fine imposed by the DFSA on an individual.

      In May 2017, the DFSA took action against Mr Andrew John Grimes including imposing a fine of USD 52,500 (AED192,675) and restricting him from performing any function in connection with the provision of Financial Services in or from the DIFC.

      The action taken against Mr Grimes in summary, was because the DFSA found that from January 2014 to July 2014, he:

      •   was knowingly concerned in undertaking Insurance Intermediation activities which contravened DFSA legislation;
      •   failed to take reasonable care to ensure that the business for which he was responsible complied with applicable DIFC legislation; and
      •   misled the DFSA.

      The DFSA notes that Mr Grimes did not challenge the DFSA's findings against him and failed to pay the fine by the date it was due. The DFSA therefore commenced proceedings in the DIFC Courts to enforce payment of the fine by Mr Grimes.

      A copy of the DIFC Courts' judgment can be found on the DFSA's website via https://www.dfsa.ae/Documents/DIFC-Court-Order-2018/CFI-055-2017.pdf

      The detailed reasons for the DFSA's action against Mr Grimes are set out in the DFSA's Decision Notice dated 3 May 2017 which can be found in the Regulatory Actions section of the DFSA website: http://www.dfsa.ae/getattachment/753e5509- fa14-4880-a2f7-819f0a6d650e/attachment

      - Ends -

      Editor's notes:

      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

      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).

    • 16 May 2018 — DFSA Expands FinTech Innovation Testing Programme

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 16 May 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today announced the expansion of its Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) programme in response to continued interest in FinTech and the digital economy. The ITL programme enables firms to test innovations in financial technology (FinTech) in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

      Six companies will form a new Cohort (Cohort 1) that will today begin the ITL application process, which includes the development of a regulatory test plan describing the proposed business model, product or service. Over the next few weeks, the DFSA will work with the applicants to navigate the on-boarding process. Should the firms be successful, they will begin a testing period lasting up to 12 months, at the end of which the firms must demonstrate that they have met the agreed targets of the test plan, and can meet the full DFSA authorisation requirements, to obtain a full licence.

      The ITL was introduced by the DFSA in May 2017, as part of its strategy to foster an innovation-friendly ecosystem in the DIFC. The restricted financial services licence allows qualifying FinTech firms to develop and test innovative concepts from within the DIFC, without being subject to the full regulatory requirements that normally apply to regulated firms.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Managing Director of Supervision at the DFSA, said: “Since introducing the ITL in May last year, we have been impressed with the volume of applications from firms wanting to test from the DIFC. This is clearly indicative of the value they place on the established ecosystem available to them here. Although a number of firms have already been granted an ITL, in order to provide the necessary support to these applicants, we have introduced the Cohort approach to reviewing applications and believe this will provide the best outcome for firms with hopes of contributing to the Dubai and UAE economy."

      The firms making up Cohort 1 illustrate the diversity of innovations in the FinTech field and the global interest to test these innovations from the DIFC.

      Cohort 1 Applicants include

      Bridg is one of the Middle East's first FinTech startups and is building a software-based payment solution that allows smartphones to process face-to-face transactions without the need to be connected to the internet.

      Delio is creating a digital ecosystem to enable deal providers to showcase investment opportunities in private assets to both institutional and private investors. The opportunities include private equity, private debt and real estate investments. Delio also intends to offer regional specific functionality, for example the ability to distinguish between Sharia and non-Sharia compliant opportunities.

      Fastnet is a FinTech adviser that aims to link cutting edge risk profiling with simple, liquid, low cost investment solutions. Its premise is that the greatest enhancement to retail investors will be in providing a much deeper and sharper understanding of investors' needs and ambitions. Fastnet's focus is on developing a detailed understanding of the client, by helping investors truly understand how their financial personality affects their investment outcomes, providing investors with the tools to manage their wealth with confidence.

      HedgeSPA offers Sophisticated Predictive Analytics to hedge funds and institutions. Its mission is to democratise access to advanced investment analytics for large institutions and sophisticated investors. HedgeSPA's core platform, powered by artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing, empowers professional investors with asset selection.

      MarketsFlow is a sophisticated, and innovative Machine Learning and AI-based Intelligent Robo Advisor and Digital Wealth Management platform. It offers customised portfolio strategies that are suitable to the client. The platform allows clients to manage their assets actively on a daily basis, inclusive of rebalancing, readjustments, and risk management.

      Jibrel Network, a Swiss blockchain development company, will be developing a UAEspecific financial services blockchain solution, to enable the deployment of virtual mobile accounts. Jibrel's implementation will include consumer protection, awareness and support - as well as compliance / risk management and mitigation capabilities.

      Cohort 2 applications will open in September to coincide with the second edition of the DIFC's FinTech Hive@DIFC accelerator programme. The 12-week programme, which was announced in January 2017 and went live in August in partnership with Accenture, a leading global professional services company. It is designed to bridge the gap between innovative tech entrepreneurs and financial industry giants, while providing a platform that enables the development of cutting-edge innovation in line with Dubai Plan 2021 and the DIFC's 2024 Strategy.

      Of the first 12 firms to have completed the FinTech Hive@DIFC programme, two transitioned to the DFSA's ITL to test out a FinTech innovation from the DIFC.

      This latest development forms part of the DFSA's innovation strategy, which complements the National Innovation Strategy, as set out by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make the UAE a global hub for innovation. In line with the goals of the Dubai 2021 strategy, the DFSA also formalised its approach to crowdfunding loan and crowdfunding investment platforms in 2017, making it the first to introduce a bespoke framework in the GCC. Specifically, loan crowdfunding has become a valuable source of financing for SMEs in several jurisdictions.

      For details of the application process please visit 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 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 has also accepted a delegation of powers from the DIFC Registrar of Companies (RoC) to investigate the affairs of DIFC companies and partnerships.

      Bryan Stirewalt, Managing Director, Supervision, joined the DFSA in 2008 and has served as a Managing Director since 2010. Mr Stirewalt's responsibilities include prudential and conduct-oriented oversight of financial service providers and overseeing the DFSA's role with Registered Auditors and CRAs. Mr Stirewalt also directs the DFSA's efforts to fight methods of illicit finance within his primary areas of responsibilities, as well as with DNFBPs. He has extensive experience in financial regulation in public and private sector roles. From 1985 to 1996, he worked for the US Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as a National Bank Examiner, where he specialised in policy development and implementation, problem bank rehabilitation and banking fraud initiatives. From 1996 to 2008, he worked for an international consulting and advisory firm, focusing on emerging markets development programmes in Poland, Ukraine, Cyprus and Kazakhstan. Mr Stirewalt serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG) which provides a forum for deepening the BCBS's engagement with global supervisors on banking supervisory issues.

    • 3 April 2018 — DFSA Hosts Accounting Standard-Setters for Islamic Finance

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 03 April March, 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) hosted the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) Islamic Finance Consultative Group (IFCG) meeting last week. The DFSA's involvement reflects its commitment to develop an effective and supportive regulatory framework for Islamic finance.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA, delivered the opening address where he said that the DFSA places great importance on maintaining the highest international standards in its regulatory processes including for financial institutions applying Islamic principles.

      Mr Johnston said: "Since its inception, the DFSA has been tasked with supporting the Dubai Government's ambitions to develop Dubai into a centre for Islamic finance. In line with the Islamic Economy Initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, the DFSA has focused considerable effort on developing an effective and supportive regulatory framework for all types of Islamic finance activity, including the listing of Sukuk on Nasdaq Dubai."

      The DFSA is a member of the IFCG that was formed by IASB in 2013 with a mandate to focus on challenges that may arise in the application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) to instruments and transactions commonly referred to as Islamic finance. The meeting was attended by IFCG members from Bahrain, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the United Kingdom.

      Following the IFCG meeting, the DFSA hosted an Outreach session with the IASB where an IASB board member and senior technical staff shared their approach to supporting implementation of IFRSs, in particular IFRS 9 (Financial Instruments), IFRS 15 (Revenue from Contracts with Customers), IFRS 16 (Leases) and IFRS 17 (Insurance Contracts). The session provided an opportunity for the stakeholders to provide comments about their experiences in implementing IFRS.

      The event was attended by the DFSA Registered Auditors, UAE regulators, academia and professional accounting bodies. Over 50 stakeholders attended the event.

      - 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).

      Ian Johnston was appointed as Chief Executive of the DFSA in June 2012. Mr Johnston joined the DFSA in November 2006, as a Managing Director, to head the Policy and Legal Services Division.

      Mr Johnston was admitted to practice Law in Australia in the early 1980s and has spent most of his career in the private sector. He held a number of senior positions within the financial sector and was CEO of one of Australia's major Trustee Companies. During that time, Mr Johnston played a leading role in the Trustee industry and served on the National Council of the Trustee Corporations Association.

      In 1999, Mr Johnston joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission where he held the position of Executive Director, Financial Services Regulation, and spent several terms as an acting Commissioner. In 2005, Mr Johnston took up a position with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission as a Special Advisor.

      Mr Johnston is a past Chairman of the Joint Forum, which comprises representatives of the major international regulatory standard-setters (IOSCO, IAIS and the Basel Committee). In November 2013, he was elected to the Steering Group of IOSCO's Growth and Emerging Markets Committee. He is also a member of the Financial Stability and Technical Committee (FSTC) of the IAIS, the global standard-setting body for insurance regulation, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Standards Board (from Jan 2011 – Mar 2016).

    • 19 February 2018 — DFSA Hosts Annual Audit Outreach

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 19 February 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) hosted its annual outreach event for Registered Auditors (RAs) this week, during which it shared the results of its annual audit inspections carried out in 2017.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA, delivered the opening address where he commented on the significant progress being made in financial accounting standards, while noting that risks still remain in the audit process. He cited the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) fifth annual survey of findings issued last March for the year ended 31 December 2016, which noted a general decline in adverse inspection findings, yet a continued high level of material findings.

      Mr Johnston said: "Major audit failures usually result in a regulatory response and as regulators, we seek to ensure that any regulatory response is conducted by persons independent of those involved in the regulatory failure. Once faults are identified, it is also incumbent upon the regulator to take the appropriate and proportionate course of action.

      "The overarching objective of DFSA enforcement activities is to prevent, detect and restrain conduct that causes or may cause damage to the reputation of the Dubai International Financial Centre. We work proactively, where possible, to resolve regulatory concerns by taking remedial action to bring firms back into compliance with our legal and regulatory regime," he said.

      The DFSA also briefed the participants about the DFSA's preparedness for the upcoming Financial Action Task Force (FATF) mutual evaluation and provided an update on the Supervision Division restructuring plans. Presentations also covered the 2018 Audit Monitoring Focus as issued by the DFSA at the start of the year.

      The event was targeted at managing partners, audit principals, money laundering reporting officers and senior audit staff of RAs. Over 90 stakeholders attended the event.

      - 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).

      Ian Johnston was appointed as Chief Executive of the DFSA in June 2012. Mr Johnston joined the DFSA in November 2006, as a Managing Director, to head the Policy and Legal Services Division.

      Mr Johnston was admitted to practice Law in Australia in the early 1980s and has spent most of his career in the private sector. He held a number of senior positions within the financial sector and was CEO of one of Australia's major Trustee Companies. During that time, Mr Johnston played a leading role in the Trustee industry and served on the National Council of the Trustee Corporations Association.

      In 1999, Mr Johnston joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission where he held the position of Executive Director, Financial Services Regulation, and spent several terms as an acting Commissioner. In 2005, Mr Johnston took up a position with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission as a Special Advisor.

      Mr Johnston is a past Chairman of the Joint Forum, which comprises representatives of the major international regulatory standard-setters (IOSCO, IAIS and the Basel Committee). In November 2013, he was elected to the Steering Group of IOSCO's Growth and Emerging Markets Committee. He is also a member of the Financial Stability and Technical Committee (FSTC) of the IAIS, the global standard-setting body for insurance regulation, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Standards Board (from Jan 2011 – Mar 2016).

    • 11 February 2018 — DFSA Signs MoU with Central Bank of Oman

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 11 February 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Central Bank of Oman signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the supervision and authorisation of firms operating in both markets.

      The MoU was signed in the Dubai International Financial Centre by Mr Bryan Stirewalt, Managing Director, Supervision of the DFSA, and His Excellency, Tahir Bin Salim Bin Abdullah Al Amri, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman. Signing was also attended by; Mr Waleed Saeed Al Awadhi, Chief Operating Officer and Mr Mark McGinness, Head of International Relations at DFSA. From the Central Bank of Oman; Mr Bader Khalid Al-Aghbari, Vice President, Financial Services and Operations, Mr Rashid Zayid Al Ghassani, Senior Manager, Banking Examination and Surveillance Departments, Mr Mazin Hamed Al Riyami, Economist, Economic Research and Statistics Department, and Mr Salim Hamed Al khanbashi, Assistant Manager, Executive President's Office were also present.

      Mr Stirewalt said: "We are honoured to host His Excellency, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman. This agreement is indicative of the value we place on regional cooperation and sustainable growth of financial services in our respective markets. DFSA already enjoys a warm relationship with the Capital Markets Authority of Oman, with whom we signed a MoU in October 2008."

      His Excellency, Tahir Bin Salim Bin Abdullah Al Amri, Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman, said: "The MoU aims at strengthening the bilateral relationship and enhancing mutual cooperation between ourselves and DFSA. It also aims at supporting and developing banking, financial and economic operations for both the Sultanate of Oman and DIFC and the UAE."

      The agreement is the third MoU signed by DFSA with a Central Bank in the Gulf and reflects the level of trust and confidence each Authority has for the other. In January, DFSA signed an MoU with the Central Bank of Bahrain to cooperate in the supervision and authorisation of firms operating in both markets. This builds upon an MoU signed with the Central Bank of the UAE in 2009.

      DFSA has 103 bi-lateral MoUs with regulators globally, and five multi-lateral MoUs. The agreements reflect the continued need for regulatory cooperation in global financial 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)

      The 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 joined the DFSA in 2008 and has served as a Managing Director since 2010. Mr Stirewalt's responsibilities include prudential and conduct-oriented oversight of financial service providers and overseeing the DFSA's role with Registered Auditors and CRAs. Mr Stirewalt also directs the DFSA's efforts to fight methods of illicit finance within his primary areas of responsibilities, as well as with DNFBPs. He has extensive experience in the financial regulation public and private sector roles. From 1985 to 1996, he worked for the US Treasury's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency as a National Bank Examiner, where he specialised in policy development and implementation, problem bank rehabilitation and banking fraud initiatives. From 1996 to 2008, he worked for an international consulting and advisory firm, focusing on emerging markets development programmes in Poland, Ukraine, Cyprus and Kazakhstan. Mr Stirewalt serves as the Co-Chair of the Basel Consultative Group (BCG), which provides a forum for deepening the BCBS's engagement with global supervisors on banking supervisory issues.

    • 31 January 2018 — DFSA Publishes Findings of Client Classification and Suitability Review

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 31 January 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) today published the findings of a thematic review of client classification and suitability practices at regulated firms. The review is part of the DFSA's risk-based supervisory efforts.

      The thematic review started with a comprehensive survey followed by detailed analysis of responses and follow-up visits to selected firms over the course of the year. The review had two primary objectives. First, the DFSA wished to verify that Clients of regulated firms in the DIFC were classified appropriately, according to the rules set out by the DFSA and according to each firm's authorised activities. Secondly, the DFSA wished to assess how each firm determined the suitability of products and services for each Client, based on that Client's knowledge, expertise and risk appetite. The review also focused on how firms were documenting the suitability assessments.

      The review found that while overall processes for client classification and suitability assessments had improved since the last review in 2012, concerns remained. This included in some cases, insufficient training and guidance provided to staff to perform client classification assessments; inadequate and often unclear documentation to support assessments; and over-reliance on 'tick-box' assessment approaches rather than detailed qualitative assessments. The DFSA noted continued concerns around the appropriateness of using "suitability waivers" and other language in Client Agreements to limit liability, duties and obligations in respect of suitability.

      In light of the findings of the review, the DFSA offered recommendations to regulated firms to support the enhancement of relevant systems and controls and to ensure Clients' interests are properly considered and protected. These include:

      •   Develop appropriate policies and procedures, including operational procedures, to:
      •   provide sufficient guidance on the steps required to carry out assessments supporting client classification;
      •   document client assessments in a more robust manner, including the final client classification; and
      •   ensure all Clients are notified of their right to be classified as a Retail Client.
      •   Provide training programmes to ensure all client-facing staff are knowledgeable of client classification.

      Mr Ian Johnston, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: "The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has evolved into a hub for wealth management and advisory services for individuals, families, and other Clients who should be able to rely upon the judgments of our financial professionals. All firms must keep in mind that client classification and suitability assessments, and all forms of investor protections, are and will continue to be very high DFSA priorities and will feature in the DFSA's future supervisory agenda.

      "We expect this report to be instructive to Firms and their staff and to promote certain behaviours conducive to the best interests of Clients in the DIFC."

      Click on the Client Classification Report to access the report on the DFSA's 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 has also accepted a delegation of powers from the DIFC Registrar of Companies (RoC) to investigate the affairs of DIFC companies and partnerships.

      Ian Johnston was appointed as Chief Executive of the DFSA in June 2012. Mr Johnston joined the DFSA in November 2006, as a Managing Director, to head the Policy and Legal Services Division.

      Mr Johnston was admitted to practice Law in Australia in the early 1980s and has spent most of his career in the private sector. He held a number of senior positions within the financial sector and was CEO of one of Australia's major Trustee Companies. During that time, Mr Johnston played a leading role in the Trustee industry and served on the National Council of the Trustee Corporations Association.

      In 1999, Mr Johnston joined the Australian Securities and Investments Commission where he held the position of Executive Director, Financial Services regulation, and spent several terms as an acting Commissioner. In 2005, Mr Johnston took up a position with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission as a Special Advisor. Mr Johnston is a past Chairman of the Joint Forum, which comprise representatives of the major international regulatory standard-setters (IOSCO, IAIS and the Basel Committee). In August 2016, he was re-elected to IOSCO's Growth and Emerging Markets Steering Committee, a position he has held since 2013. He is also a member of the Financial Stability and Technical Committee (FSTC) of the IAIS, the global standard-setting body for insurance regulation, and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Standards Board (from Jan 2011 – Mar 2016).

    • 22 January 2018 — DFSA and Central Bank of Bahrain sign MoU

      Click here to view PDF.

      Dubai, UAE, 22 January 2018: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Central Bank of Bahrain signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) last week to cooperate in the supervision and authorisation of firms operating in both markets.

      The MoU was signed by Saeb Eigner, Chairman of the DFSA, and His Excellency Rasheed Mohammed Al-Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, in Manama.

      Mr Eigner said: "The DFSA places great importance on the relationships we have with our counterparts in the GCC. The signing of this MoU formalises arrangements for cooperation and information sharing between us. It underscores our shared commitment to maintaining the highest standards of supervision and the joint promotion of a stable financial services sector in our region.

      "It also builds upon Dubai and the UAE leadership's Vision of continued regional and international engagement. I am particularly grateful to His Excellency, the Governor for hosting our meeting and for the opportunity to share the experiences of two neighbouring regulators of international financial centres with much in common."

      The DFSA and the Central Bank of Bahrain have for some years, been cosignatories of the multi-lateral MoU of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions. The bi-lateral MoU between the two authorities enhances this relationship, reflecting both authorities' commitment to international standards.

      - 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)

      The 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).

      Saeb Eigner

      Saeb Eigner was appointed DFSA Chairman in August 2011. He has been a member of the Board since October 2004 and served as Deputy Chairman from 2007 until 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 Lonworld, a private investment group in the early 1990s. 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 currently a 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 and/or has held a number of Board appointments in Banking, Strategy, Education, Regulation and Investment.