Accounting & Tax

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Financial Services License In UAE

May 16, 2024

Obtaining a financial services license in the UAE is a significant step towards establishing a financial institution or offering financial services in the country. Here’s a comprehensive guide covering everything you need to know:

  1. Understand Regulatory Authorities: The regulatory landscape for financial services in the UAE is overseen by several authorities, including the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). Each authority has its own set of regulations and licensing requirements.
  2. Types of Financial Services Licenses: Depending on the nature of your business activities, you may need to apply for different types of licenses, such as banking licenses, insurance licenses, brokerage licenses, fund management licenses, or financial advisory licenses.
  3. Eligibility Criteria: Determine if you meet the eligibility criteria set by the relevant regulatory authority for obtaining a financial services license. This typically includes requirements related to capital adequacy, corporate structure, governance, and compliance standards.
  4. Business Plan: Develop a comprehensive business plan that outlines your proposed financial services activities, target market, competitive analysis, risk management strategies, and financial projections. Your business plan will be a crucial component of your license application.
  5. Engage Legal and Financial Advisors: Consider engaging legal and financial advisors who specialize in financial services licensing in the UAE. They can provide valuable guidance on navigating the regulatory requirements, structuring your business, and preparing your license application.
  6. Documentation and Application Process: Prepare all necessary documentation required for the license application, including corporate documents, financial statements, compliance manuals, background checks for key personnel, and any other supporting documents specified by the regulatory authority.
  7. Compliance and Risk Management: Establish robust compliance and risk management frameworks to ensure adherence to regulatory requirements and mitigate potential risks associated with your financial services operations.
  8. Capital Requirements: Ensure that you meet the minimum capital requirements set by the regulatory authority for the type of financial services license you are applying for. Capital requirements vary depending on the nature and scale of your business activities.
  9. Regulatory Approvals and Inspections: Be prepared to undergo regulatory approvals and inspections as part of the licensing process. Regulatory authorities may conduct due diligence reviews and on-site inspections to assess your compliance with licensing requirements.
  10. Maintain Ongoing Compliance: Once you obtain your financial services license, it’s essential to maintain ongoing compliance with regulatory requirements. This includes submitting periodic reports, conducting audits, and staying updated on regulatory changes and updates.
  11. Renewal and Expansion: Monitor license renewal deadlines and ensure timely renewal to avoid any disruptions to your operations. If you plan to expand your financial services activities or enter new markets, be prepared to obtain additional licenses or approvals as required.

By following these steps and ensuring thorough preparation and compliance with regulatory requirements, you can successfully obtain a financial services license in the UAE and establish a reputable and compliant financial institution or services firm.

If you’re seeking assistance with obtaining a financial services license in the UAE, feel free to reach out to us at:


Phone: +971 55 378 8000

At Setup Dubai Business, we specialize in navigating the complexities of financial services licensing in the UAE regulatory requirements and licensing process. Don’t hesitate to contact us for inquiries or assistance in the financial services sector.

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