Planning to open Banks,Finance Company,Money Exchange company in UAE?Read below requirements.

Banks in Dubai, Banks in Abu Dhabi

Role of UAE Central Bank

The regulatory framework for banking in the United Arab Emirates is contained in the Federal Law No. (10) of 1980. Under the Law, the Central Bank was established, which regulates the banking and monetary systems operating or wishing to operated in the country

The Central Bank is authorized to issue licences and regulations for banks and other financial institutions which are distinctly categorized into:

  • Commercial Banks
  • Restricted Licence Banks
  • Investment Banks
  • Finance Companies
  • Financial Investment Companies
  • Banking, Financial, Investment Consultation Activities
  • Monetary Intermediaries
  • Financial Intermediaries
  • Representative Offices of Foreign Financial Institutions.

From the ambit of law are excluded Statutory Public Credit Institutions, Government Investment Institutions, Development funds, Private Savings & Pension Funds and the Insurance sector. Representative Offices of foreign banks are expressly barred from conducting banking activities.

Commercial Banks in UAE [Locally incorporated and branch of Foreign banks]

Banks in the UAE are divided into two major categories: locally incorporated banks which are public shareholding companies licensed in accordance with provisions of Union Law No. (10) of 1980, and branches of foreign banks which have obtained Central Bank’s licence to operate in the country as per provisions of the said Law. Historically, national banks (with majority national shareholding) and foreign banks existed prior to the establishment of the former Currency Board and, hence, before the central Bank was created and commenced its operations. Within such historical circumstances the number of banks and their branches in the country and abroad increased very rapidly on obvious disproportion with the capacity for the local market, hence , provoking the monetary authority at that time to withhold issuance of licences to any new bank and set about reducing the number of branches of a foreign bank to a maximum of eight branches.

In United Arab Emirates currently 47 banks are operating of which 21 are locally registered banks and 26 are branches of foreign banks.

Restricted Licence Banks in UAE

A Restricted Licence Bank is a commercial bank, which is not authorized to accept deposits from residents in local currency, but may receive deposits in foreign currencies. Such bank may also extend credit facilities to residents and non-residents. There is only one restricted licence bank operating in the country at present, namely , Banca Commercial Italiana.

Investment Banks in UAE

Union Law No. (10) of 1980 defined Investment Bank is a bank that does not accept deposits whose maturities are less than two years, but may borrow from its head office, from local or foreign banks, or form financial markets. There are two investment banks operating in UAE at present, namely United Arab Emirates Investment Bank(PJSC), and HSBC Financial Services (Middle East) Limited.

Finance Companies in UAE

Finance companies may conduct one or more of the following principal business activities:

  • Extending advances and /or personal loans for personal or other consuming purposes.
  • Financing small trade and small businesses, as well as opening letters of credit and issuing guarantees on behalf of customers.
  • Participating in the capital of projects and/or in the issuance of shares or bonds and/or Certificates of Deposit.
  • The finance company cannot conduct any other additional business activities without the prior approval of the Board of Directors of the central Bank; such activities cannot be amended without the approval of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank.

Major Conditions for Granting Banking Licence in UAE

  • The legal status of the company must be in one of the forms stipulated in Federal Law No. 8 of 1984 regarding commercial companies. However, if the company takes the form of Limited Liability Company( LLC), then its paid-up share capital must be note less than AED 50 million.
  • The company must provide a ‘letter of guarantee’ issued in favour of the Central Bank for an amount being the equivalent of the whole of its minimum required paid-up share capital.
  • The applicant must demonstrate that not less than 12 of its principal founding shareholders are financially capable and have not previously failed their financial capable and have not previously failed their financial commitments either as individuals or companies.
  • The number of company’s board members should not be less than 5, all of which have not previously failed their financial commitments. At least 60% of the board members should be knowledgeable in finance/banking business.
  • The value of accepted deposits should be limited to 100% of the paid-up capital and reserves of the company during its first 2 years of operations. Thereafter, approval may be sought from the central Bank to allow the value of accepted deposits to increase to 200% of paid-up share capital and reserves; up to 300% after 4 years; and up to 500% after 7 years.
  • The founding members of the finance company must meet the necessary requirements with regard to personal integrity and professional qualifications as deemed appropriate by the Central Bank.

Financial Investment Companies

In order to organize and promote the business of financial investment  companies to the appropriate internationally recognized standards and protect investors, the Board of Directors of the Central Bank issued Resolution No.164/8/94 dated 18.04.1995. The resolution defines financial investment companies as those conducting one or more than one of the following business:

  • Opening investment accounts and managing portfolios on behalf of others, whether individuals or companies
  • Preparing feasibility studies for projects and marketing allotments and stocks of shareholding companies
  • Establishing and/or managing investment trust funds
  • Establishing and/or managing other investment funds and act as trustee of funds entrusted to it by a trust to manage on behalf of a beneficiary.
  • Subscribing to companies’ capital and participating in syndicated loans.

Major Conditions for Granting a Licence

  • The legal status of the company must be in one of the forms stipulated in Federal Law No. 8 of 1984 regarding commercial companies. However, if the company takes the form of Limited Liability Company (LLC), then it’s paid-up share capital must be not less than AED 50 million.
  • The company must provide a ‘letter of guarantee’ issued in favour of the Central Bank for an amount being the equivalent of the whole of its minimum required paid-up share capital.
  • The applicant must demonstrate that not less than 12 of it s principal founding shareholders are financially capable and have not previously failed their financial commitments either as individual or companies.
  • The number of company’s board members should not be less than 5, all of which have not previously failed their financial commitments. At least 60% if the board members should be knowledgeable in finance/banking business.
  • The company must obtain Central Bank approval for its proposed organization structure which should be appropriate and balanced, showing the main departments, sections, lines of reporting, authority and responsibilities.
  • The founding members of the finance company must meet the necessary requirements with regard to personal integrity and professional qualifications as deemed appropriate by the central Bank.

Banking, Financial Investment Consultation Activities

As per the UAE Central Bank Board of Directors’ Resolution No.164/8/94, a natural or juridical person lcienced to offer banking, financial and investment consultations against a fee, may conduct one or more of the following main activities:

  • Preparing feasibility studies regarding investing in banking, financial or investment projects in financial markets and various securities.
  • Designing various strategies, which aim at improving the performance level of existing banking, financial and investment projects.
  • Providing advice or opinion to a natural or juridical person, directly or in writing or through publications, regarding the value of securities or any other financial instruments, or regarding any banking services available in the country or expected to be provided in the future.
  • Recommending to a natural or juridical person, directly, in writing or through publications, to carry out banking activities or to benefit from banking services, provided by banking institutions, or to invest or show interest in securities or any other financial instruments, or to purchase or sell such securities or instruments.
  • Looking for technical investment methods with a better return, and providing general instructions or directives regarding the development of banking services or investment programs.
  • Issuing periodical or non-periodical reports with limited circulation regarding the banking system, or available banking services or services which may become available in the future; or regarding securities or any other financial instruments which include, among other things, an analysis of an d a promotion of such instruments.

Conditions for Granting a Licence

  • The legal status of the company can be a sole proprietorship concern owned by a UAE citizen or in one of the forms stipulated in Federal Law No.8 of 1984 regarding commercial companies. However, if the company takes the form of Limited Liability Company (LLC), then its paid-up share capital must not be less than AED 50 million.
  • The applicant must provide the Central Bank with the curriculum vitae of the manager-in-charge, and managers of the main sections together with other relevant documents and certificates for prior approval. The Central Bank may decide to interview proposed staff through a special central bank committee to evaluate their technical and administrative qualifications and abilities.
  • The contract of the manager-in0charge, who is also an authorized signatory, should contain an article stipulating that any violation on his part shall be considered a criminal offence for which he shall be punished, if it is proven that what he signed its untrue or misleading.

Money Exchange companies in UAE

Money Exchange is a thriving business in the UAE owing to its demographic structure, which contains large numbers of expatriates regularly transferring remittances to their families and relative s in their home countries. The number of moneychangers operating in the country and volume of their transactions increased rapidly in recent years.

Conditions for Granting a Licence to Money Exchange companies

  • The legal status of the company can be sole proprietorship concern owned by a UAE citizen.
  • The minimum paid-up capital of the concern must be AED 1 million for currency trading and AED 2 million if the scope of activity includes issuance of drafts and pay orders
  • The proposed entity may adopt other legal forms stipulated in federal Law No. (8) of 1984 (as amended) regarding commercial companies. However, if the entity takes the form of Limited Liability Company (LLC), then its paid-up share capital must be not less than AED 50 million.
  • The company must provide a letter of guarantee, issued in favour of the Central Bank for an amount being the equivalent of the whole of its minimum required paid-up share capital.
  • The applicant must provide the Central Bank with the curriculum vitae of the manager-in-charge, and managers of the main sections together with other relevant documents and certificates for prior approval. The Central Bank may decide to interview proposed staff through a special central bank committee to evaluate their technical and administrative qualifications abilities.
  • The contract of the manager-in0charge, who is also an authorized signatory, should contain an article stipulating that any violation on his part shall be considered a criminal offence for which he shall be punished, if it is proven that what he signed is untrue or misleading.

Financial and Monetary Intermediaries [Financial/Stock Brokers)

As per the UAE Central Bank Board of Directors’ Resolution No. 126/5/95 and 153/5/97, a Financial /Monetary Intermediary means any natural juridical person, other than the financial institutions, licensed to conduct the business of financial and monetary brokerage activities. The business carried out by the intermediary shall be confined to intermediating in the sale and purchase of domestic and foreign stocks and bonds, currencies and commodities, as well as intermediating in money market transactions.

Conditions for Granting a Licence

The paid-up capital or the capital funds allocated for brokerage activities should be less than AED 1,000,000 (One Million Dirhams) if the licence is confirmed to brokerage in dealing domestic stocks and bonds; AED 2,000,000 (Two Million Dirahms) if the licence is required for brokerage in dealing foreign stocks and bonds; AED 3,000,000 (Three Million Dirhams) if the licence is required for brokerage in dealing currencies and commodities  as well as intermediating in money market transactions.

And in case the licence is required for two or more types of brokerage activities, the capital shall then be increased by adding up the amount specified for each activity.

Representative Offices of Foreign Financial Institutions

The Representative Offices should represent a bank or any other financial institution incorporated outside the country . A Representative Office can undertake the following activities in the UAE:

  • Representing the financial institution licence to deal inside the country, including contacts on its behalf with concerned agencies as well as promoting its services in the local market.
  • Providing the head office of the licenced financial institution with data relating to economic developments in the country
  • Providing customers of the licensed financial institution with information on the local market
  • Providing data to local agency, which intends to develop its business at countries wherein the licensed institution conduct its business.
  • Providing customers with banking, financial and investment consultation services.

Conditions for Granting a Licence

  • The applicant should be an bank or another financial establishment  incorporated outside the country
  • The applicant should have completed a period of not less than ten (10) continuous years of conducting the business in the country of origin.
  • The bank applicant’s paid-up capital and reserves should not be less than AED 83.7 Million. (The Board of Directors shall decide on the capital of any other financial establishment in view of the size of its business sand the kind of its activity).
  • The relevant authority, to whose supervision the applicant is subject to, should exercise the required control on the banking and /or financial system in the country of incorporation of the applicant. Furthermore, this authority should issue an approval or no-objection letter to opening a representative office in the country. However, in cases where the relevant authority does not issue such letter, it should state this clearly in tis official documents, or confirm it in writing.

Financial Institutions not subject to Central Bank’s Licensing

These include any remaining financial institutions; specialized banks (the Industrial Bank and the Real Estate Bank), Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi Investment Company), Development Institutions (Abu Dhabi Development Fund and UAE Development Bank), Insurance Companies, etc.

List of Banks in Dubai Abu Dhabi UAE

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