Location: Middle East

DIFC office

DIFC overview

Equiom in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Equiom’s portfolio in the UAE is wide-reaching with 4 offices in the region, each expert in their respective field. The offices all work closely together to ensure we continually share our expert knowledge amongst the team and to provide the highest level of service to all our clients. Many clients benefit from using a combination of solutions across the offices to support them across different service lines. 

Equiom in the DIFC is represented by:

Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited (DIFC Branch)

Equiom launched in the DIFC in March 2019, under the operating name of Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited (DIFC Branch).  

The office is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and is responsible for the promotion of a full range of trust and fiduciary services. The company’s offering meets the individual requirements of clients including high net worth individuals, family offices and corporations.

Equiom Corporate Services (Middle East) Limited

Equiom Corporate Services (Middle East) Limited oversees Equiom's compliance and risk management offering in the UAE. The highly knowledgeable and experienced team offers assistance with Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) 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 Corporate Services (Middle East) Limited was formed following the acquisition of HOLT consultancy in November 2018, before it rebranded to Equiom in July 2019.

Why choose the DIFC?

  • DIFC boasts 100% foreign ownership
  • DIFC has internationally accepted laws and regulatory processes
  • UAE is strategically located at the heart of one of the world’s most prosperous and rapidly developing regions 
  • Ranked 11 of 190 countries in the 2019 ‘Doing Business’ report published by the World Bank
  • UAE has low corporate taxes and no taxes imposed on expat salaries or wages
  • UAE has world class infrastructure in place with substantial investments being made in further infrastructure and industrial manufacturing projects, especially in the run up to Expo 2020 and UAE Vision 2021.
Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited (DIFC Branch) is regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

DIFC Services

Equiom in the DIFC offers individuals, family offices and businesses a full range of trust, fiduciary, compliance and risk management services.

  • Company Services

    Our corporate insight gives you valuable foresight

    Equiom provides guidance and assistance for those who wish to set up and operate in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). This includes all aspects of the licence application, from liaison with the DFSA, DIFC Authority, DIFC Registrar of Companies and other advisors as required. Equiom handles the process from start to finish giving you peace of mind that all regulatory requirements are met.

    For DIFC-based companies with DFSA licences in place, Equiom supports with licence upgrades, variations, enhancements and endorsements including:

    • Varying the scope of licence
    • Upgrading an existing licence
    • Applying for a waiver from the DFSA
    • Applying for an endorsement on a licence
  • Compliance & Risk Management

    Equiom provides outsourced Compliance, Risk and Money Laundering Reporting Officers (MLRO) to organisations across the UAE. 

    This service is ideal for SMEs, those who are thinking of setting up in the region, looking to consolidate an existing business, those looking for temporary cover when there are unexpected staff absences or even for organisations that wish to undertake additional compliance training.

    Equiom’s managed compliance solutions are the perfect complement to any organisation and deliver considerable benefits to clients. Our hands-on experience means we are able to help our clients develop and manage effective compliance programs to identify issues before they become violations.

    By appointing an Equiom Compliance Officer, MLRO or Risk Officer, you will be safe in the knowledge that the individual you will work with is:

    • authorised, qualified and experienced to carry out compliance duties
    • a UAE resident 
    • knowledgeable about the DFSA rulebook and regulatory obligations
    • familiar and capable with meeting reporting requirements and timelines
    • able to train your employees and Board of Directors
    • able to resolve complex regulatory and compliance issues
    • up-to-date with compliance issues (each team member undertakes over 35 hours of continuing professional development activities each year).

    Equiom also provides advice and guidance to clients on regulatory issues and problems, as well as delivering training to firms in relation to compliance, anti-money laundering and countering terrorist financing. Training sessions are tailored to individual businesses and are designed to:

    • educate employees on compliance and regulatory matters
    • educate senior management about their regulatory responsibilities
    • fulfil mandatory AML training for all relevant employees to meet DFSA requirements (training should be provided to each relevant employee at least annually).
  • End of Service Gratuity Trust Services

    Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited (DIFC Branch) is able to provide trustee solutions for organisations who wish to enhance their End of Service Gratuity obligations to their employees in line with UAE Labour Law.

    End of Service Gratuity (EOSG) is statutory severance pay across many Middle Eastern jurisdictions and is comparative with a retirement savings or pension scheme.

    The majority of companies in the UAE do not separate cash to cover their employees’ EOSG liabilities from their working capital. So while employers accrue this obligation within their balance sheet, this is typically not ring-fenced and circumstances such as a large claim or an unanticipated number of leavers at any one time can adversely impact on cash flow for a business. Likewise, this could result in unease for employees who are worried that their gratuity may be under threat in the event of an adverse action against the company.

    Equiom has provided independent professional services to manage End of Service Gratuity risk for companies in the UAE for over 20 years, adapting to the changing landscape along the way. We provide a range of services from simple trust structures to sophisticated fully interactive solutions to suit the needs of any business, large or small, in the GCC.

  • Equiom Private Office

    Your interests are global – so are we

    Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited (DIFC Branch) provides a bespoke premium solution for private clients. 

    The Equiom Private Office is a dedicated, specialist team of senior practitioners who tailor services to meet the individual requirements of clients – be they HNWI or wealthy families.

    Our approach involves building a customised team around each client’s circumstances, creating strong personal rapport and ensuring the most intelligent and efficient solutions are delivered.

    Our expertise is born out of years of providing market leading services. We understand more than most that wealthy families are confronted by ever changing and increasingly complex financial and regulatory environments. Whatever our clients’ circumstances, sound decisions must be based on facts and expert, professional advice. We work closely with a global network of trusted intermediaries and can therefore provide tailored solutions to achieve optimal results.

    In a competitive market place, the Equiom Private Office team ensures that clients feel confident in our people, our services and our recommendations.

    Equiom Private Office services include:

    • Family advisory services including estate, succession and tax planning
    • Development of Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) and other more technically and secretarially intensive corporate structures
    • Residential and commercial real estate advisory
  • Trusts & Foundations

    Trust is something that is earned

    Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited (DIFC Branch) offers Trust and Foundation services worldwide.

    Operating throughout the world’s most stable and reputable jurisdictions, our international trust and foundation specialists identify the most appropriate trust structures to protect and enhance your private or corporate wealth and assets.

    Our experienced teams operate in both common law and civil law jurisdictions. We guide you through the complexities of local laws and regulations to find the right solution for you, organising the initial establishment of a trust or foundation and administering it carefully to maximise the benefits. We ensure its legal and tax status is maintained and provide regular accounting and financial reporting.

    Over the years, we have earned an enviable reputation as leading professional trustees, dedicated to maintaining our clients’ prosperity. We aim to give you more control over your assets today, and more confidence about your holdings tomorrow – helping ensure that your family, employees, or favoured charities are well looked after for years to come.

    Our trust services include:

    • Establishment and administration of trusts and foundations, which can hold a variety of financial and non-financial assets
    • Dedicated accounting and financial reporting
    • Estate planning
    • The establishment and maintenance of banking relationships
    • DIFC Trusts

    We can also assist with:

    • Private trust companies
    • Managed trust companies
    • Employee benefit trusts
    • Employee ownership trusts
    • Charitable trusts
    • Property unit trusts
    • Purpose trusts
    • Will trusts/pilot trusts
    • Executor services

    Benefits of a trust

    • Asset protection and careful planning to ensure tax efficiency
    • Succession planning with full control on how assets are distributed upon death  
    • Confidentiality and the avoidance of a public probate court hearing

DIFC Team

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