May 16, 2018

Dubai Creative Clusters – New “Know Your Customer” Requirements

In an effort to enhance its compliance with Federal Law No.4 of 2002 regarding Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting Financing of Terrorism, the Dubai Creative Clusters (DCC) Authority will be revising its “Know Your Customer” (KYC) requirements (the Requirements) during the course of this year. These will apply to all free zone limited liability companies (FZ-LLCs) and branches registered in the DCC (DCC Entities). This article outlines the Requirements.

What's new?

Audited Financial Accounts

DCC Entities will now be required to prepare and submit audited financial accounts to the DCC Authority, with the first submission required in 2019 (for a DCC Entity's 2018 financial year).

Mandatory compliance

Licence Renewal: The renewal of a DCC Entity's operations licence will be conditional on submission of audited financial accounts to the DCC Authority on the following basis:

Form of submission

  • FZ-LLC Regulations: Articles 63 – 68 of the DCC Private Companies Regulations 2016 set out the requirements for audited financial accounts of an FZ-LLC.
  • Branch Office: A company that operates in DCC through a branch office shall have the option to submit the consolidated audited financial accounts of the company of which it is a part or an extract of the financial statements which relate to the branch office operations only.
  • Submission Format: An electronic submission of a copy of the original audited financial accounts will be sufficient. The original audited financial accounts will not need to be filed in hard copy.
  • Portal: It is expected that DCC Entities will be able to submit their audited financial accounts electronically, via the DCC's 'AXS' services portal.

Ultimate Beneficial Owners

As part of the Requirements, the DCC Authority has announced a new process to identify the Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBO) that own or control DCC Entities. The UBO requirements will be as follows:

  • Written Confirmations: Where an FZ-LLC has a corporate shareholder outside of the UAE, or a company outside the UAE has registered a branch office in the DCC, the DCC Authority will require details of the DCC Entity's UBOs to be maintained in writing at the DCC Entity's premises.
  • Provision of UBO Information: In accordance with Regulation 15 of the Licensing Regulations 2003, the DCC Authority may require a DCC Entity to provide UBO information, at any time and at its discretion.

All DCC Entities will be required to maintain information on their UBO(s) from 1 July 2018.

If you would like to find out more about these new requirements and what you should consider, please contact our specialist Benjamin Smith.