Dubai regulator stops accepting applications for FX companies’ representative offices

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the independent regulator of financial services conducted from the DIFC free zone, has earlier today published its report entitled “DFSA in Action 2015”, detailing the results of its work since the start of the year.

The regulator notes that it has identified an emerging trend in applications and enquiries from companies seeking to establish representative offices in the DIFC to offer Forex and other highly leveraged products.

The DFSA says it is concerned that marketing activities of such companies were likely to include retail clients, but without the relevant protections for such customers. The DFSA is now conducting a review and it has reminded all authorized firms of their obligations relating to disclosure, dealing with conflicts of interest and suitability of advice and discretionary decisions for such products.

The regulator has also adopted the position that in the meantime it will not generally accept any further Representative Office applications relating to these products until the new policy has been formed.

This decision may serve as a blow to many Forex companies, given that the Middle East market has become particularly attractive for the industry recently.

Between January 1, 2015 and September 1, 2015, the number of regulated companies operating in and from the DIFC continued to grow at a strong pace. The DFSA authorised 49 firms during the period, versus 37 in the equivalent period in 2014. At the end of August, the DFSA had a pipeline (applications plus “in principle” approvals) of 58 firms, with the majority of these being wealth managers and wealth advisors.

Below is a list of companies that were registered by the DFSA in the January-September 2015 period. (You can spot at least a couple of well-known retail Forex brokers there.)


To download the latest edition of “DFSA in Action 2015” report, click here.

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