Sunday, 22 July 2012


A “Representative Office” is defined in the Central Bank Resolution No.57/ 3/96 as “an office which represents a foreign bank or any other financial establishments in the United Arab Emirates” (Article 1).

1 Activities Article 6 of Resolution No.57/3/96 provides an exclusive list of the permitted activities that a representative office may undertake. Such permitted activities are restricted to:
(a) Representing “the authorised institution” in the U.A.E. and promoting the activities of such authorised
(b) Institutions in the local market. (The authorised institution for the purposes of this Resolution means a financial foreign bank or institution authorised to establish a representative office in the U.A.E.);
(b) Providing its head-office with information relating to economic developments in the U.A.E.;
(c) Providing the client of the authorised institution with information relating to the local market;
(d) providing information to any local party who intends to develop its activities in the country where the head office of the representative office is situated; and
(e) providing customers with banking, financial and investment opinions.

2. Prohibitions A Representative Office may not carry out any of the following activities:
(a) Accept any deposits in any form whatsoever;
(b) Open accounts, of any type, for its customers;
(c) Advance any loans or credits to any person;
(d) Carry out any usual banking activities such as issuing Letters of Credit or Bank Guarantees .... etc., and (e) deal in foreign currencies, financial stocks or trade in gold.

3. Application for a Licence Article Z of Resolution No.57/3/96 clearly provides that a representative office may not carry out any of the activ- ities referred to in Article 6 of this Resolution (see above) without being properly licensed by the Central Bank. The following conditions must be satisfied before an application for a representative office is submitted to the Central Bank:
(a) the applicant, who must be a foreign bank or a foreign financial institution, must be licensed in its coun- try of origin;
(b) the applicant must have completed a minimum of 10 years of activity in its country of origin (the Central bank may reduce this period by a resolution of the Board of Directors);
(c) if the applicant is a foreign bank, its share capital and reserves shall not be less than Dhs.183,700,000 (US$ 50 million approximately) (To date there is no indication as to the share capital requirement where the applicant is a foreign financial institution);
(d) the applicant must provide the Central Bank with an approval issued by the relevant authorities in the coun- try of origin of the applicant authorising the applicant to set-up a representative office in the U.A.E.; (e) the applicant must submit an undertaking that it will adhere to the applicable laws and regulations of the U.A.E.; and
(f) the nominated person to undertake the management of the representative office must be of good standing personally and professionally with appropriate experience in banking and financial business.

3.1 Supporting Documentation The following documents must be submitted in support of the application:-
(a) notarised copy of the Memorandum and Articles of Association, and Certificate of Incorporation of the applicant;
(b) names of the principal shareholders and the percentage of shareholding of each of them;
(c) resolution of the board of directors authorizing the establishment of a representative office and appointing the manager;
(d) formation of the board of directors of the applicant, number of directors, their names and nationalities;
(e) a statement relating to the proposed activities of the representative office;
(f) name and address of the relevant licensing authority in the country of origin;
(g) copies of the audited financial reports for the last 3 years;
(h) a list of the names of companies or establishments which the applicant owns or is a principal shareholder therein;
(i) a power of attorney to the manager of the representative office setting out his powers and authorities;
(j) a curriculum vitae of the appointed manager, and a letter detailing the professional qualifications and expe- riences in addition to a copy of his passport; and
(k) any other documents as required by the Central Bank from time to time.

4 Extent of the Licence If granted, a licence would be valid for two years renewable thereafter. The Central Bank is empowered to cancel, amend revoke or withdraw any licence granted for a Representative Office. Finally, a representative office is required to adhere to the other applicable laws relating to applying for and obtaining a trade licence from the relevant local authorities. In addition, adherence must also be made to the provisions of the Commercial Companies Act 1984 which contains provisions dealing with the establishment of branches and/or representative offices of foreign companies in the U.A.E.

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