Money laundering and terrorist financing can destabilise communities, economic sectors, or whole national economies. Criminals and terrorist networks may be able to carry out their criminal and potentially destructive activities through undetected financial support structures.

The DFSA as a supervisory authority is committed to maintaining a regime that acts as a significant deterrent to any criminal elements, including money launderers and persons wishing to assist, in any way, acts of terrorism.

The DFSA is the competent authority for the administration of Federal AML/CTF legislation in the DIFC, which means it has sole administrative oversight of all AML/CTF legislation and direct supervision of Relevant Persons for compliance with the AML/CTF legislation, including the DFSA’s AML/CTF Rules.

The DFSA is committed to maintaining this page as a useful and valuable resource to Relevant Persons. Should you have any comments, feedback on the contents of this page or suggestions for further topics, please do not hesitate to contact the DFSA via the Supervised Firm Contact Form.

Please keep in mind: This material is intended only as informal guidance, is not intended to be all encompassing and is not any form of, and must not be relied upon on any basis whatsoever as, legal or other advice or directions. Although the DFSA does regularly consider AML/CTF matters, the information on this page may not always be current, complete or accurate. You should consider whether any relevant laws, regulations, rules, directives, standards or other requirements may apply to you. The DFSA’s informal guidance is no substitute or compensation for, or mitigation of, your own responsibility.


The DFSA’s supervisory regime for Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Counter Terrorist Financing (CTF) and Sanctions Compliance applies to:

  • an Authorised Firm other than a Credit Rating Agency;
  • an Authorised Market Institution;
  • a Designated Non-Financial Business or Profession (DNFBP); and
  • a Registered Auditor,

collectively referred to as “Relevant Persons”.

Designated Non-Financial Business or Professions (DNFBP)

The DFSA’s AML/CTF and Sanctions regulatory framework includes the supervision of DNFBPs.

DNFBP stands for “Designated Non-Financial Business or Profession” (DNFBP). Certain types of ‘non-financial’ businesses have been identified as being susceptible to money laundering and terrorist financing due to the nature of their business and the transactions that they may conduct.

Money launderers and terrorist financiers are continuously looking for new methods of disguising their illicit funds; they will actively seek to exploit weaknesses in AML systems and controls and will gravitate to countries and financial systems with weak or ineffective AML/CTF controls. Importantly, it is not only the financial sector which is at risk of misuse by money launders and terrorist financiers, but the non-financial sector (DNFBP) is also vulnerable.

A Person who is not an Authorised Person or an Auditor, and is carrying on a business or profession listed below in or from the DIFC is a DNFBP:

  • Real estate developers or agents which carry out transactions with a customer involving the buying or selling of real property;
  • Dealers in precious metals or precious stones;
  • Law firms, notary firms, or other independent legal businesses;
  • Accounting, audit, or insolvency firms;
  • Single Family Offices;
  • Company service providers, who are not otherwise a DNFBP. A company service provider is a person that, by way of business, provides any of the following services to a customer:
    • Acting as a formation agent of legal persons;
    • Acting as (or arranging for another person to act as) a director or secretary of a company, a partner of a partnership, or a similar position in relation to other legal persons;
    • Providing a registered office, business address or accommodation, correspondence or administrative address for a company, a partnership or any other legal person or arrangement; and/or
    • Acting as (or arranging for another person to act as) a nominee shareholder for another person.

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