The DFSA’s regulatory approach is to be risk-based and to avoid unnecessary regulatory burden.
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To establish and manage a Fund in the DIFC (using any one of the three vehicles noted below), you need to be either:
• An External Fund Manager.
Three types of Fund vehicles can be used to establish a Domestic Fund in the DIFC. These are Investment Companies, Investment Trusts and Investment Partnerships.
Each has its unique features, with the most popular to date being the Investment Company model, with Trust structures predominantly utilised for Property Funds and Limited Partnerships being utilised for Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds.
An Investment Company will need to be incorporated in the DIFC and the Fund Manager must be a corporate director of the Investment Company. An Investment Company established as an Umbrella Fund can also use the PCC structure.
An Investment Trust will need to be established by trust deed between a Fund Manager and a Trustee. A Trustee can be a DFSA licensed Trustee or a Custody Provider, or a person regulated and supervised in a reputable jurisdiction for custody or depository services. The Trustee is responsible for the safe-keeping of Fund Property and the maintenance of the Unitholder register, and must monitor whether the Fund is managed in accordance with the Trust Deed and the applicable laws.
An Investment Partnership is a Limited Partnership registered in the DIFC, comprised of a General Partner and Limited Partners. The General Partner must be authorised by the DFSA to act as the Fund Manager of the Fund.
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The DFSA refers to the Dubai Financial Services Authority, a body established under Dubai law as the independent regulator of financial services and related activities for the DIFC.