The representative office regime in the DIFC allows established firms to setup in the region, primarily to market their services. Such entities are allowed to provide information, make referrals or introductions, and generally act as a representation of the parent entity. Here is a sample of what a DIFC representative office can do:
1. Make introductions/referrals to the parent entity
2. Distribute marketing material (including fund prospectuses)
3. Distribute investment research
4. Provide information on the products and services of the parent entity
It is imperative to note that the representative office, under no circumstances, provide any sort of service that may be construed as advice on, or arrangement of, deal. Some activities that are prohibited include:
1. Providing opinions, recommendations, or specific investment advice
2. Receiving or transmitting orders
3. Marketing funds that do not meet the stipulated criteria
4. Invoicing clients for services
5. In general, not indulge in client-facing sales activities
Applicants must be incorporated in a jurisdiction other than the DIFC and be regulated by a reputable financial services regulator. They should also appoint a person to act as the ‘Principal Representative’, the in-charge of operations of the representative office at the DIFC. Due to the restrictive nature of this activity, the DFSA has adopted a light-touch regulation to representative offices, and hence no Compliance and Money-Laundering Reporting Officers need be appointed.
The DFSA fees include a) US$ 4,000 authorisation fee and b) US$ 4,000 annual supervision fee.
The Representative Office will also have to create a legal structure at the Registrar of Companies, which costs around US$ 20,000 for registration and licensing, and US$ 12,000 on an annual basis.
Office space will have to be availed, which can range from business centre options, to full-fledged spaces.
Setting up of the structure and ongoing maintenance
Assistance in bank account openings
We have been through this process many times, both at the DIFC and at the newly-formed ADGM, and have assisted all categories of firms to establish a base in these centres
We treat each application as if it is our own; not as a client, not as an external or third party
We genuinely wish to help – there are instances where we have taken a stand with the authorities, and convinced them, even when the client was willing to budge – because we believed we were right.
And if you don’t quite believe the above, read what our clients have to say about us..(LINK TO TESTIMONIALS)