The CEO of Bahrain’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority has urged real estate valuers to apply for a license from the Authority before the 2 November 2019 deadline. The Authority was launched on 1 March 2018 and initially focused on the licensing of developers, off-plan sales developments, real estate brokers and sales agents. In late 2018, the licensing requirements and regulations were extended to property managers and owner association managers. All providers of real estate valuation services have to hold a Authority license by 2 November 2019. All licensed valuers have to attend the English-language Valuation Standards and Regulations course on 20 and 21 November and 24 and 25 November in Arabic. To register licensed valuers should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Weekly Spotlight: Draft Cryptoasset Regulations Published by UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority
The UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority has published draft cryptoasset regulations. Investors, brokers, financial analysts, researchers, media personnel and other interested parties have until 29 October to provide their feedback on them.
The Regulations will encompass all aspects of the crypto assets industry in the UAE ranging from token issuing requirements to trading and safekeeping practices with an emphasis on protecting investor interests to ensure compliance with financial crime prevention measures, cryptoasset sake-keeping standards, information security controls, technology governance practices and conduct of business requirements for all market intermediaries.
Standards and requirements for a wide range of market participants like issuers of securities, investors including qualified investors, custodians, crypto trading platforms, brokers and promoters engaged in crypto asset industry are also covered.
Once they are implemented, market participants will be able to request guidance on specific token issues and regulatory requirements from the Authority as a part of an e-Services System launched by them. The Authority may amend the draft regulations before, on or after this deadline as they are not final.
Dubai’s Deputy Ruler has announced the launch of a virtual and global business license. It will be available to 101 countries and is the region’s first virtual business license. It will allow freelancers and business people across the world access to a regulated ecommerce platform and allow them to work easily with Dubai-based companies and explore new markets and investment opportunities remotely. It is hoped it is will bring more than 100,000 companies to the Emirate in the creative industries, technology and services sectors. Applications can be submitted to www.vccdubai.ae or through VFS Global offices in 11 locations globally.
Dubai Healthcare City-registered companies can now register onshore. They will only be able to register onshore if they have successfully applied for a no-objection certificate from the Dubai Healthcare City Authority-Regulatory and successfully obtained a commercial permit from Dubai’s Economic Development Department. The regulatory changes are part of new regulations developed by the City and the Economic Development Department.
According to local newspaper reports, women will be allowed to join the Saudi army for the first time. The Defence Ministry has approved the change which will allow women to enlist in ranks between private soldier to sergeant. They will be able to enlist in the army, air force, navy, air defences, missile forces and medical services. It follows a move last year to allow women to join the security services including drug combat, prisons and criminal investigations.
Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft Consumer Protection Law as well as a draft Decision issuing the Implementing Regulations to the Law. If approved, it will replace Qatar Law No. 8/2008. The aim is to update the legislation to ensure it takes account of developments and international best practices. The Cabinet also approved a draft Ministerial Decision issuing the Implementing Regulations to Qatar Law No. 2/2019 on supporting the competitiveness of national products and combating harmful international trade practices. It includes provisions on the organisation of the work of the committee to support competitiveness of national products provided for by law and the organisation of the procedures for filing and deciding on complaints. It also includes provisions on the conditions, controls and procedures for the investigation of harmful practices in international trade and interim and final measures and price undertakings on these practices.
Bahrain’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority has announced it is launching a crackdown on money laundering in the Kingdom’s real estate sector. The crackdown will be launched together with other Government bodies. The aim is to eradicate money laundering in this sector in the Kingdom. The announcement follows the publication of Bahrain Decision No. 3/2019 to mitigate money laundering risks in the real estate sector. Under the Decision, all real estate licensees have to appoint a Compliance Officer who will be responsible for ensuring compliance with Bahrain Law No. 27/2017.
The UAE’s Central Bank has launched a consultation on a draft regulation on loan-based Crowdfunding Platforms or CFPs. The consultation ends on 10 October 2019. The aim is to establish a framework for licensing, regulating and monitoring loan-based CFPs and to set out the standards the Central Bank expects them to meet. The framework and standards are aimed at protecting the country’s financial system from the risks posed by CFPs and protect consumer interests in the country. It is also aimed at developing the FinTech sector in the UAE. If approved, it will apply to person(s) wherever they are domiciled who in engage in loan-based CFP operations in the UAE except in the Financial Free Zones. CFPs will be categorised according to their lending volume; a. Category 1 (Large), Cumulative loans facilitated in a calendar year at 5,000,000 AED or more or b. Category 2 (Small), Cumulative loans facilitated in a calendar year are below 5,000,000 AED. An applicant wishing to undertake loan-based CFP activities must apply to the Central Bank for a license and if their application is approved, they must undertake to provide a bank guarantee drawn in favour of the Central Bank and issued by a locally incorporated UAE bank of value equal to the required paid-up capital, among other things.
Bahrain’s Parliamentary Public Utilities and Environment Committee has discussed a draft maritime law accompanying Bahrain Decree No. 29/2018. The Committee also discussed its recommendations regarding the articles of a draft law amending Bahrain Decree Law No. 20/2002 on the regulation of fishing, exploitation and protection of marine wealth. The Chairman of the Committee pointed out the fishing and marine wealth law will also be amended in order to protect marine wealth and workers in the fishing sector.
Abu Dhabi’s Global Market Registration Authority has announced it has introduced a new instant license renewal service. The service will allow registered entities to complete license renewals via the Online Registry Solution, once a renewal form is submitted. Companies will also be able to continue to use the platform to lodge their other annual filing requirements in line with the Companies Regulations 2015. The aim is to improve business efficiency and make it easier to do business in the Centre.
The Qatar Financial Centre has announced it has issued new rules and guidance to regulate FinTech service providers in the country. Under the new rules and guidance, non-regulated professional service firm activities have been expanded to cover FinTech Services Provider activities. This will include activities like providing cybersecurity solutions, application programming interfaces cloud computing, developing blockchain-based technologies, Artificial Intelligence and companies who provide a platform for facilitating real-time transaction capability of internet connected devices. It comes as Qatar looks to develop its FinTech environment and is part of the Centre’s FinTech strategy.