How to get investment and
finance business licenses in the UAE

Set up a successful investment and financial business in a stable and attractive country

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Comfortable legislation, state support and the purchasing power of the population have resulted in a prosperous financial and investment environment. They have made the United Arab Emirates one of the most protected countries in terms of all kinds of financial risks. Having obtained a license and tax resident status, you can issue loans, manage and advise, receive commissions and rewards while managing securities and finances in the UAE and abroad, without taxes and exchange of tax information.

Types of financial activities available for licensing in the UAE

The selection of a license determines your business development strategy, so approach choosing the appropriate type of activity carefully. SORP Group consultants will help you understand licensing details and issues.

Require mandatory registration with Dubai Municipality Food Control and ESMA certification.
Operations with
Financial instruments, investment and client (intermediary) activities in financial markets.
Providing direct and trade financing, issuing credit cards and financial products.
Payment service
License of Payment Service Provider (PSP) - activities for receiving and processing payments for third parties.
Providing a range of services related to optimizing the use of assets, attracting and placing investments.
Financial services with the use of innovative technologies and Big Data, artificial intelligence, blockchain.
Insurance and
Providing insurance and reinsurance products and services to individuals and companies.
Investment Funds
Pooling funds of private persons and legal entities for the purposes of joint investment.
Asset trust
Placement of investors' funds in company assets and financial products for a fee.

Conducting investment and financial activities in the UAE and working in foreign markets requires detailed understanding of the applicable local legislation and attracting a licensed participant to undergo incorporation procedures. SORP Group has the expertise, competence and authorization to perform all tasks involved in incorporating an investment and financial business in the United Arab Emirates.

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SORP services that support investment and financial businesses

Prepare your business

We will find the best solution for what you want to achieve, the most suitable license and type of entity

your business

We cooperate closely with the relevant authorities and so we can deliver services quickly

Your local partner
or agent

Professional nominee services from SORP Investment LLC with a waiver of rights in the Dubai court

business address

SORP Business Center enables our clients to rent an office so as to pass licensing procedures

Opening your
bank accounts

We know the compliance processes of UAE banks and we provide help in passing KYC

business processes

We provide integrated legal, tax, accounting and administrative services with full business support

Differences and peculiarities of investment and financial licenses in the UAE

Mainland incorporation
  • Local (mainland) companies may conduct business in the domestic UAE market while also providing an opportunity to represent interests and operate in foreign markets.
  • Due to the company's presence in the local market, this solution gives status and credibility with banks and counterparties, as well as prestige in the international arena. It has a complicated structure.
Financial centers
  • Licenses here ensure the right to conduct both financial and investment business transactions on a permanent basis in specialized FTZs and in international markets.
  • A license in the DIFC and ADGM - the major financial centers of the UAE – assures both the high status and prestige of the company. 100% foreign ownership allowed, but a complex registration process.
Incorporation in some FTZs
  • Companies licensed here are used for conducting activities outside the UAE and carrying out financial and investment operations.
  • It does not allow you to operate freely in the domestic market. Cautious attitude on the part of local banks and counterparties. Allows 100% foreign ownership, as well as easy to obtain a license.

UAE jurisdictions for incorporating investment and financial companies

Mainland (The local area)

Economic Development Departments of each of the Emirates act as Registrars. Additional requirements and approvals from local financial regulators may be required for a number of licenses.

Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC)

DIFC has a separate financial regulator (DFSA) in its structure, a registration authority and its own arbitration court. A number of licenses may be subject to additional requirements and approvals from the internal financial regulator.

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM)

ADGM has a separate financial regulator (FSRA) in its structure, a registration authority and its own arbitration court. A number of licenses may be subject to additional requirements and approvals from the internal financial regulator.

A number of Free Trade Zones of the Northern Emirates

These have minimal licensing requirements and no internal financial regulators. They do not impose additional requirements for most business activities but operating in the local market is prohibited.

Requirements of UAE government regulators

Some investment and financial licenses must be approved for business activities by the Central Bank of the Emirates (the UAE Central Bank, CB UAE) and the Committee for the Management of Financial and Commodity Markets (Securities and Commodities Authority, SCA).


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There are different state requirements depending on the type of activity and jurisdiction of incorporation. The main regulatory bodies are: CB - the Central Bank of the UAE, the Financial and Commodity Markets Management Committee (SCA), and the Police.


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In most cases, there are requirements relating to the amount of authorized capital, the minimum level of which varies from 41 000 US dollars to 1.4 million. In rare cases, for complex licenses, the authorized capital required can be as much as US dollars 8-14 million or more.


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The State has established requirements for a bank guarantee for the fulfillment of financial obligations to third parties. The amount of the guarantee depends on the type of financial or investment activity. Sometimes the deposit required can be quite significant.


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There are requirements related to staffing levels and skills, covering financial managers, analysts, specialists in internal control over financial transactions, as well as a general manager with the appropriate level of education or qualifications.


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Financial and investment companies are subject to a number of requirements related to having a physical office, equipped according to the regulatory standards and international norms. It must be also appropriate for confirming it as the business decision-making center in accordance with the requirements of Economic Substance.


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Regulators are obliged to ensure a system of internal control is in place and strict compliance with the law in order to minimize risks. They also look for mechanisms and processes that ensure compliance with money laundering legislation.

Comprehensive SORP support services for doing business in the UAE

Individual business
model definition
We integrate ideal development strategies for you based on the competition and the law. Then we choose the right operating license for doing local or global business.
SORP Groups’s own specialists incorporate businesses quickly and with impeccable high quality standards in close cooperation with the registration authorities.
SORP Group’s corporate lawyers, and our strategic partnerships with the best lawyers in the UAE and around the world, provide superb legal support.
Tax Planning
We design personalized tax solutions for doing international business using the full scope of UAE legislation, drawing on our wide experience in this field.
Obtaining tax
residency status
Enjoy tax resident (domicile) status shielding you from CRS requirements regarding sharing your tax details, as well as preventing double taxation.
Confirmation of
economic substance
We help fulfil proof of economic substance based on the registered location of your company, its tax compliance, and localized decision making and management.

SORP provides a full range of incorporation, support and management services in the UAE

Range of services

The company offers comprehensive solutions for businesses and shareholders from incorporation to obtaining UAE tax resident status.

Examination of documentation

Checking your company's concept for strategic and legal errors

15 years of successful work

We have helped thousands of clients acquire, build and develop businesses in the UAE

Integrated solutions

We carry out turnkey works - we will draw up a development plan for your company, help you obtain all permits and find qualified personnel that meets the requirements of financial regulators

Protection and confidentiality

We will ensure the security of your investment, compliance with current legislation and confidentiality of information

SORP Business Center

The SORP group of companies has its own Business Center - 54000 sq. ft of modern office space for licensing in the UAE and meeting the requirements of KYC and Economic Substance

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