Further to our previous inBrief dated 7 July 2019, which discussed UAE Cabinet Resolution 31 of 2019 Concerning Economic Substance Regulations (the UAE Economic Substance Regulations or the Regulations), and inBrief dated 10 October 2019, which discussed the Guidance on UAE Economic Substance Regulations issued by the UAE Ministry of Finance, Cabinet Decision No. 58 of 2019 has now designated the regulatory authorities (the Regulatory Authorities) to regulate compliance with the UAE Economic Substance Regulations.

Background

Under the Regulations, a Licensee engaged in any one of the nine Relevant Activities listed therein must meet an Economic Substance Test in relation to each Relevant Activity carried on by such Licensee. This includes but is not limited to demonstrating that its State Core Income-Generating Activities are carried out in the UAE.

The Regulations contemplated that a yet-to-be designated Regulatory Authority (the Regulatory Authority under the Regulations is different from the Competent Authority) would regulate compliance with the Regulations. The Regulations read as if there would be a single Regulatory Authority for the entire UAE; however, the Guidance on Economic Substance Regulations, in certain places, contemplated the possibility of more than one Regulatory Authority.

Cabinet Decision No. 58 of 2019 has appointed a number of different authorities as the Regulatory Authority, depending on the nine Relevant Activities and where these Relevant Activities are undertaken.

The concerned Regulatory Authorities are as follows:

Relevant Activity          

Regulatory Authority                                          

Banking Activities    

 - UAE Central Bank for banking activities regulated by the Bank.  - Competent authority in the Financial Free Zone for banking activities exercised in the latter.

Insurance Business

 - Insurance Authority for the insurance business regulated by the Insurance Authority.  - Competent authority in the Free Zone for the insurance activities exercised in the latter.  - Competent authority in the Financial Free Zone for the insurance activities exercised in the latter.

Investment Funds Management 

 - Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA) for the investment funds management regulated by the SCA.  - Competent authority in the Free Zone for the activities of investment funds management exercised in the latter.   - Competent authority in the Financial Free Zone for the activities of investment funds management exercised in the latter.  

Financial Leasing Activities

 - UAE Central Bank for the financial leasing activities regulated by the bank.   - Competent authority in the Free Zone for the financial leasing activities exercised in the latter.   - Competent authority in the Financial Free Zone for the financial leasing activities exercised in the latter.

Headquarters Activities

 - Ministry of Economy for the headquarters' works and activities regulated by the Ministry.   - Competent authority in the Free Zone for the headquarters activities exercised in the latter.   - Competent authority in the Financial Free Zone for the headquarters activities exercised in the latter. 

Shipping Activities

 - Ministry of Economy for the shipping activities regulated by the Ministry.   - Competent authority in the Free Zone for the shipping activities exercised in the latter.   - Competent authority in the Financial Free Zone for the shipping activities exercised in the latter. 

Holding Company Activities

 - Ministry of Economy for the holding company activities regulated by the Ministry.   - Competent authority in the Free Zone for the holding company activities exercised in the latter.   - Competent authority in the Financial Free Zone for the holding company activities exercised in the latter. 

Intellectual Property Activities

 - Ministry of Economy for the intellectual property activities regulated by the Ministry.   - Competent authority in the Free Zone for the intellectual property activities exercised in the latter.   - Competent authority in the Financial Free Zone for the intellectual property activities exercised in the latter.

Distribution and Services Centres

 - Ministry of Economy for the distribution and services centres activities regulated by the Ministry.   - Competent authority in the Free Zone for the distribution and services centres activities exercised in the latter.   - Competent authority in the Financial Free Zone for the distribution and services centres activities exercised in the latter.

Going Forward

The appointment of the Regulatory Authorities means that businesses licensed in the UAE should fast track an assessment to determine if they are subject to the UAE Economic Substance Regulations. It remains to be seen what approach such Regulatory Authorities will take in enforcing the UAE Economic Substance Regulations.