IFZA Dubai Head of Legal Gerard Hobby
Gerard Hobby, Head of Legal, IFZA Dubai Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/ Gulf News

Has IFZA’s transition to Dubai gone well?

We are very pleased at the pace at which we have integrated our business licensing and visa issuance processes in our collaboration with Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority. We have also sought to simplify our documentary proof processes with respect to foreign corporate entities, by requiring only the authorising resolution to be both notarised and attested, thus saving both time and cost for our licensees.

How do the new Federal law compliance regimes (AML, UBO and ESR) affect IFZA licensees?

We have regularly been reaching out to our licensees in line with these new compliance regimes. However, actual registration and filings under AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and ESR (Economic Substance Regulations) will only affect a very small number of our licensees given that the registration regimes under these regulations relate to a limited number of specified business activities. UBO (Ultimate Beneficiary Owner/s), on the other hand, clearly applies to all our licensees and our new registration and licence renewal processes now require specific UBO declarations.

What product innovations is IFZA considering?

We have expanded our migration regime to accommodate the continuation within IFZA Dubai of companies incorporated not only elsewhere in the UAE but also incorporated anywhere else in the world where a company’s jurisdiction of incorporation allows for re-domiciliation. As compliance and KYC (Know Your Customer) procedures continue to become more tedious in many parts of the world, we are of the view that this product will become increasingly popular. We are consistently monitoring local and global trends, which leads to competitive products and services that help us maintain our position at the forefront of innovation in the Free Zone industry.