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New Abu Dhabi Free Zone To Issue First Licenses

by Lorys Charalambous, Lowtax.net, Cyprus
16 June, 2015

The Abu Dhabi Global Market, a soon-to-launch free zone in the United Arab Emirates, announced that from June 15, 2015, it will begin accepting license applications from certain existing non-financial services tenants of Al Maryah Island.

Dhaher Bin Dhaher Almheiri, Chief Executive Officer of ADGM's Registration Authority, said: "This is the first in a series of licensing phases, which will be announced in the coming months. Our primary focus at this stage is on existing Al Maryah Island tenants. Over the past few weeks we have reached out to them, met with them, and spoken to them to ensure that they are fully aware of our activities and our service offering, that they understand the registration and licensing process and requirements and also understand the options available to them."

He added: "Our Business Development team will continue to work closely with the tenants and will guide them moving forward during this transitional period in line with our commitment to making this as easy and seamless an experience as possible."

All Island tenants who are eligible to apply during this first phase will have a 12-month grace period during which they will be able to decide whether to apply for a ADGM license. This first phase applies to tenants structured as private limited companies or branch offices.

Other types of companies, including financial services institutions and those that are not currently tenants of Al Maryah Island, will be able to apply for an ADGM license later in the year.

ADGM's commercial regulations were published on June 14, 2015. The free zone's financial services regulations are being reviewed by ADGM's Expert Panel and they will be issued for open market consultation in the coming weeks. The free zone is scheduled to launch in the second half of this year.

ADGM aims to become a major financial services center, which will focus on asset management, private banking, and wealth management during the first phase of its establishment. It will provide firms with a number of benefits, including exemption from taxes guaranteed for 50 years; relaxed rules on the repatriation of profits; and an allowance for 100 percent foreign ownership.

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