DIFC issues New Trust Law and Foundation Law for public's consultation

Dubai International Financial Centre, DIFC, the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, MEASA, region, today proposed a new Trust Law regime and a new Foundation Law regime. DIFC Authority’s Legislative Committee has invited public comment on the new proposed laws, which are primarily designed to enhance the operating environment for private wealth management and succession planning platforms on both a conventional and Sharia compliant basis.

The proposed new laws form part of the DIFC’s implementation plan relating to the 56 recommendations made by the DIFC’s Wealth Management Working Group to the Governor’s Strategy and Policy Committee and approved by the DIFC Higher Board in December 2016. The recommendations also include the establishment of DIFC’s Family Business Centre, which will support and service regional and international family offices looking to relocate their private wealth and succession planning structures to the Centre.

The Working Group consisted of more than 20 senior lawyers, barristers and accountants, as well as executives from DIFC Authority, Dubai Financial Services Authority and the DIFC Governor’s Office, and consulted on a global scale before finalising its recommendations. Since its formation, the Working Group has contributed significantly to shaping the Centre’s strategy for the future growth of Wealth Management at DIFC, including the proposed statutory reforms as well as focusing on the cost and ease of doing business in the centre.

DIFC’s established Wealth Management sector, comprising around 200 asset management companies and specialist advisors, stand to benefit significantly from DIFC’s new private wealth regime, inclusive of the newly proposed Trust Law and Foundation Law regimes.

Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC and Chairman of the DIFC Authority Board of Directors, said, "The proposed new Trust Law and Foundations Law will significantly enhance DIFC’s wealth management proposition by ensuring that lifetime and succession planning for families at the centre will have a robust legal status. We have earned our place among the world’s top ten financial centres by having a legal and regulatory ecosystem that is progressive and draws on the considerable expertise of the global leaders in financial services operating from DIFC. We will continue to work closely with the financial community to maintain the evolution of our business environment, in line with DIFC’s 2024 Strategy."

Chairman of the Wealth Management Working Group, David Russell AM QC of Outer Temple Chambers, DIFC, said, "The development of these proposed new laws follows a thorough review by the Wealth Management Working Group of the needs of the regional and international wealth management industry. We set out not to merely copy what other jurisdictions are doing in the field of trusts and foundations but rather to design a regime that is a global best practice example to others. While we are confident that the proposed laws will be warmly received, we are looking forward to engaging with the wider community during the public consultation phase, something that is critical in ensuring legislative reform has the desired effect."

The proposed DIFC Trust Law regime and Foundation Law regime have been posted for a 30-day public consultation period with the deadline for providing comments ending on 8th November 2017.