DWTC Authority announces new regulations to license the set-up of Single and Multiple Family Offices


Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) today announced new regulations to encourage family businesses to establish Single and Multiple Family Office (SFO & MFO) licenses with the free zone.

The regulations address the needs of family-run entities and introduce a new platform for wealthy families to set-up offshore holding companies within DWTCA’s designated free zone to manage their private family global wealth, assets and investments from Dubai, the MENA region’s financial services capital

Dubai has emerged as one of the most popular cities in the world for ultra-wealthy families, after more than 2,000 high-net-worth individuals moved to the emirate in the first six months of 2021. The city’s population of HNWIs rose 3.8 per cent to 54,000, up from 52,000 in December 2020. The emirate’s business-forward outlook and low-risk environment make it an excellent prospect for Single and Multiple Family Offices, Trusts and Foundations.

Speaking on the development, His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority (DWTCA) said: “Family businesses are a highly significant segment within today’s global economic landscape and are integral to the wider international investment community. Following an exceptionally challenging year, family businesses worldwide have shown extraordinary resilience and agility, and are eager to diversify and expand into new markets. DWTC Authority recognises the need for a specialised legal and regulatory framework that offers distinct flexibility and fundamental benefits for setting up Single and Multiple Family Offices in Dubai, providing an attractive environment that supports Family Offices to operate successfully”. 

DWTCA’s SFO regulations allow for offshore entities, founded directly by members of a single family, to own and manage their collective wealth, assets, businesses and investments through incorporating a new Free Zone Establishment (FZE) or Free Zone Company (FZCO), subsequently licensed to operate from DWTCA’s designated free zone.

Whereas the new MFO regulations cater to the growing international professional and wealth management and advisory service industry providers looking to operate and expand their market presence and management portfolios in the MEASA region. MFO licenses facilitate and enable services offered to multiple families, their members, businesses, entities, trusts and foundations.

Through its new regulatory framework, DWTCA is reaffirming its commitment to family businesses and Dubai’s position as an attractive a hub for local, regional and international family offices. The new SFO regulations follow last month’s agreement between DWTCA and the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) to create a framework supporting the regulation, offering, issuance, listing and trading of crypto assets and related financial activities within DWTCA’s free zone.

DWTCA has emerged as a highly sought-after free zone following a period of strong H1 growth in the first half of 2021, with 427 new company registrations – equating to 300% year-on-year growth over the same period in 2020.

H.E. Helal Saeed Almarri added, “DWTC Authority has made strong progress this year as a free zone of choice for the investor community. With Dubai’s business friendly environment, best in class regulatory options and comprehensive judicial ecosystems, we are confident of maintaining this momentum. DWTC Authority will continue to review and update regulatory and licensing offerings to ensure we always present unique investment opportunities to the international business community.”