Equiom Group launches DIFC Trust Company ‘Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited’


Leading international fiduciary services provider, Equiom Group, is pleased to announce that it has been granted a license by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to operate as a Trustee for private and corporate clients in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

Equiom originally launched its first DFSA regulated business in the DIFC in 2019 as a branch of its Isle of Man office before changing its licence over to a fully-fledged subsidiary under the new operating name of Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited.

This new licence builds on the organisation’s growing presence in the Middle East and will provide a wider breadth of services for the group in the region. The subsidiary will see the introduction of a full range of trust and fiduciary services, the ability to establish and administrate Trusts and Foundations for private and corporate clients around the world, as well as the ability to operate Employee Money Purchase schemes in the DIFC. Equiom has been serving clients and wealthy families in the Middle East for decades and has significant experience in helping families with estate and succession planning and asset protection. Equiom has a deep understanding of the requirements in the region and works closely with local external expert legal professionals to ensure that clients’ needs are fully met.

Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited will continue to be able to act as an Operator of Employee Money Purchase schemes (such as DEWS). It will also continue to assist employers with bespoke arrangements and structures to fund their existing and/or future End of Service Gratuity obligations or provide Workplace Pension/Savings benefits to their employees.

Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited has a vast amount of experience in this area through its role as the Master Trustee of the DIFC Employee Workplace Savings (DEWS) plan. When it launched in February 2020, this progressive End of Service Benefits plan was introduced to restructure the previous End of Service provision, into a funded and professionally managed defined contribution plan, whilst offering members the ability to add voluntary contributions to help boost their future savings pot. DEWS is widely seen by industry experts as a catalyst for similar roll out across the UAE and GCC. Alongside this, Equiom Group has provided trustee services on End of Service replacement and Workplace Savings plans for large Middle East employers for many years and are the proud, long-term trustee for the Emirates Group on their staff Provident Fund Scheme. The Provident Fund Scheme is widely considered as the largest and most developed in the region.

Hugh O’Donnell, Head of Equiom Fiduciary – Middle East who oversees Equiom’s Private Wealth business in the UAE, commented:

‘This is a truly exciting time for Equiom. Holding a local trustee licence will allow us to increase our range of services to clients locally while harnessing the breadth of Equiom’s global reach to also attract business from other parts of the world. Equiom continues to focus on meeting the individual requirements of high & ultra high-net-worth individuals and corporations by offering them a full range of trust and fiduciary services. With the milestone of establishing a Trust company in the DIFC, Equiom is delivering on its promise to get closer to its clients in the region and support families with their wealth planning needs.’

Chris Cain, Client Services Director (Middle East) commented:

“This is yet another milestone for Equiom and we are delighted to have been granted this license. It will further our ability to offer a trustee solution within the DIFC for organisations who wish to enhance their existing End of Service Gratuity obligations to their employees by using a professionally managed defined contribution plan. Our involvement in DEWS has paved the way to allow us to support and foster a savings culture in the UAE and we excited to see these changes as they are implemented.”

This marketing material is distributed by Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited, which is regulated by the DFSA. It is intended only for Professional Clients or Market Counterparties, as defined by the DFSA, and no other Person should act upon it. All employers and employees participating in the DEWS Plan will be treated as Retail Clients under the DFSA requirements

This is not financial advice; if you are looking for investment advice, you should seek your own professional advisor. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

About Equiom

For over 40 years Equiom has offered fiduciary services to the private wealth sector. This heritage underpins our ethos of responsiveness and excellence in client advisory services, leveraging our global industry, asset class and investment structuring expertise.

Equiom is the premium provider of regulated and unregulated company set ups, corporate services and outsourced compliance services in the Middle East, as well as providing sophisticated clients with professional expertise in delivering multi-jurisdictional investment and asset protection solutions.

The launch of Equiom Fiduciary Services (Middle East) Limited, complements Equiom’s already expansive reach in the Middle East. Equiom first entered the region through the acquisition of Links Group (The Links Group Limited) in 2016. Links Group is a corporate services provider with offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar that supports organisations setting up in the region. Equiom Corporate Services (Middle East) Limited has offices in DIFC and ADGM and oversees Equiom’s governance, risk and compliance offering in the UAE. The highly knowledgeable and experienced team offers assistance with Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FRSA) licence applications, outsourced Compliance Officer and Money Laundering Reporting Officer functions, governance and risk management solutions, as well as delivering compliance and AML training. Equiom Group. also launched an office in Saudi Arabia in 2022 to further complement its existing corporate services offering and offer support to existing businesses and those looking to enter the Saudi market with business enabling solutions.

Equiom’s Award Successes

We have been consistently recognised as a leader in professional services sector.