Setting up a company in Abu Dhabi Global Market

31 January 2018 Category:
Abu Dhabi

Any entrepreneur launching a business in the UAE should at the very least think about one of the nation’s free zones. With 0% corporate and personal tax, 100% company ownership, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions, and 100% import and export tax exemption on offer, there are certainly many reasons for consideration.

But the advantages of establishing a business in a UAE free zone don’t end there. On top of these headline benefits, each free zone also offers its own plus points that differ from one to another. Take Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), for example. Set in the heart of Abu Dhabi, it is the ideal location for businesses in the financial sector – particularly private banking, wealth management and asset management.

ADGM is home to a host of local and international businesses of all sizes, spread across a 114-hectare site which along with world-class office space, also features state-of-the-art leisure, entertainment and hospitality facilities. If you’re looking to set up in the financial services industry here in the UAE, there can be few better places to call home.

ADGM is home to a host of local and international businesses of all sizes, spread across a 114-hectare site which along with world-class office space, also features state-of-the-art leisure, entertainment and hospitality facilities.

Why choose Abu Dhabi Global Market?

If ADGM has caught your eye – and there are plenty of reasons why it might – there are a few things to understand before establishing your business in the free zone.

Regulated or Non-Regulated? As most businesses that operate within the free zone are in finance-related industries, Abu Dhabi Global Market is governed by three independent authorities: the Registration Authority, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and ADGM Courts. All these bodies work to ensure that organisations within the free zone operate in line with international best practices that are recognised by major financial centres across the world. Your first task therefore is to establish whether your company is considered regulated or non-regulated, as this will determine which authority you are governed by and what is required of you to trade in the free zone. Regulated companies – which are governed by the FSRA – include international and Islamic banks, lending and credit institutions, fund management companies and investment businesses. Non-regulated companies include consultancy services and accountancy and audit firms – these businesses are not governed by the FSRA.

Understanding your requirements: As a regulated company operating from ADGM, there are several requirements you must fulfil. For one, you must take physical office space in the free zone. You are also required to appoint an authorised individual to the role of senior executive officer, chief financial officer, compliance officer and money laundering reporting officer – authorised individuals must be UAE residents. Finally, as your business licence is issued by both ADGM and the FSRA, you must apply annually to both in order to renew. If you are a non-regulated business, you only need renew your licence with ADGM and are not required to take physical office space. 

Multiple visa options: When it comes to visas, Abu Dhabi Global Market caters for businesses of all sizes. Whether large or small, the process is easy. There is no upper limit on the number of visas you can apply for, however this is capped depending on the size of your premises. The general rule of thumb is one visa per 100 sq ft of office space. 

Easy to sponsor dependants: As well as applying for employee visas, it’s also very straightforward to sponsor your dependants for their visa applications as well. Whether you require a visa for a spouse, child, maid or driver, the process is four straightforward stages: entry permit, status adjustment, a medical fitness test, then Emirates ID registration and visa stamping. As this is such an important process, it’s a good idea to get advice from an expert in setting up UAE free zone businesses to ensure that before starting an application, both you and those you are hoping to sponsor meet the entry criteria.

As this is such an important process, it’s a good idea to get advice from an expert in setting up UAE free zone businesses to ensure that before starting an application, both you and those you are hoping to sponsor meet the entry criteria.

Easy to arrange your corporate bank account: Once you’ve received your licence and established your business in ADGM, you’re ready to set up your corporate bank account. The application process is quick and simple. Free zone staff can advise on the best bank to suit your needs – and can even arrange meetings in-branch for you. A company formation specialist can also provide the same service – or alternatively, you’re welcome to approach any local or international bank on your own.  

Setting up in Abu Dhabi Global Market

So you’re sold on the benefits of setting up your business within Abu Dhabi Global Market – what next? There are a number of steps that need to be undertaken – some complex, some less so. The first thing to do is choose your business activity. From here you can decide on your company name, complete and file your registration paperwork with the relevant authorities, open a bank account, and apply for any visas that may be required.

However, the specifics of this process will depend largely on the type of licence you are applying for and the kind of business you wish to run. That’s why before starting any of these steps, the first port of call should always be to a company setup expert who will guide you through every part of the application, ultimately ensuring the entire process requires little more than a few hours of your time.

Setting up your own business has never been easier. Virtuzone takes care of it all so you can focus on what matters – building your business. For more information about company formation in the UAE mainland or free zones, please call us on +971 4 457 8200, send an email to info@vz.ae, or click here. 

About the author: Gemma Kennedy, Head of Sales, Virtuzone.
About the author: Gemma Kennedy, Head of Sales, Virtuzone.

As Head of Sales at Virtuzone, Gemma oversees the Company Formation Specialist team, which is responsible for consulting prospective clients interested in setting up a UAE free zone company. Gemma and her team provide all necessary and accurate guidance on the best path to UAE company setup, always delivered on a case-by-case basis for UAE entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their startup businesses. Gemma has extensive sales experience, having worked as a product representative for brands such as Tefal and Vidal Sassoon across New South Wales, Australia. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Employment Relations, History and (Hons) Politics at the University of Wollongong Australia, a unique educational mix which empowers her with a socio-political outlook in dealing with a multicultural workforce and client base.