How to set up a family office in DWTC
In today’s ever-evolving financial landscape, characterized by ongoing regulatory changes, economic shifts, and geopolitical uncertainty, high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and families are increasingly turning to multi-family offices (MFOs) to manage their wealth effectively. These specialized advisory firms offer comprehensive, personalized wealth management solutions that address the multifaceted challenges and opportunities of managing substantial wealth.
This trend is particularly prevalent in Dubai, where the increasing affluence, global mobility and complex financial requirements of its residents is fueling a surge in the demand for MFO services.
Among the focal points for this financial shift is Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). Located in the heart of Dubai’s business Setup in Dubai and financial district, it provides an ideal setting for MFOs to offer their specialized wealth management solutions, capitalizing on its strategic location and world-class facilities.
This article provides guidance on how to register an MFO in DWTC and the specific features and advantages it provides.
What are multi-family offices?
A multi-family office (MFO) is a specialized advisory firm that provides a wide range of financial services to multiple high-net-worth families. What sets MFOs apart from single-family offices and traditional wealth management firms is their focus on serving multiple families, pooling resources, and sharing expertise. Unlike single-family offices that are dedicated to managing the wealth of a single affluent family, MFOs offer a collaborative approach that allows multiple families to benefit from shared resources, economies of scale, and a broad spectrum of financial expertise. MFOs provide highly personalized services, recognising that each family has unique financial goals, risk profiles, and wealth management needs. They excel in comprehensive wealth management, encompassing investment strategies, tax planning, estate planning, and more. This approach ensures that clients receive bespoke solutions designed to preserve and grow their wealth over generations while mitigating the risks and challenges associated with having assets and financial interests that span multiple jurisdictions.
What services do they provide?
Multi-family offices (MFOs) offer a wide range of comprehensive financial services designed to meet the unique needs of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and affluent families. These services typically include:
- Wealth management: Encompassing investment planning, asset allocation, portfolio management, and risk assessment. They tailor investment strategies to clients’ specific financial objectives and risk tolerance.
- Financial planning: This includes detailed financial plans that address long-term goals such as retirement, education funding, and estate planning and consider tax optimisation, cash flow analysis, and asset protection strategies.
- Tax planning and optimisation: MFOs develop tax-efficient strategies to minimise clients’ tax liabilities while ensuring compliance with local and international tax laws. This includes strategies for income, capital gains, and estate taxes.
- Estate planning: MFOs assist in creating comprehensive estate plans that aim to preserve and transfer wealth to future generations efficiently. This can include trusts, wills, and other estate planning tools.
- Asset protection: To safeguard clients’ assets from legal and financial risks, MFOs offer asset protection solutions, including the use of legal structures such as trusts, foundations, and offshore entities.
- Philanthropic services: MFOs help clients set up charitable foundations and provide guidance on philanthropic initiatives.
- Risk management: Analysis and management of financial risks, including investment risk, market volatility, and geopolitical risks, including the use of diversification, hedging, and alternative investments.
- Alternative investments: Assistance with investment in alternative asset classes such as private equity, hedge funds, real estate, and venture capital to diversify portfolios and potentially enhance returns.
- Family governance: For families with complex dynamics, MFOs facilitate family governance structures and meetings to foster communication, decision-making, and wealth preservation across generations.
- Concierge services: Many MFOs also provide concierge services, assisting clients with non-financial aspects of their lives, including travel arrangements, property management, and lifestyle services.
- Reporting and monitoring: Keeping clients informed about the status of their investments and financial plans.
- Global wealth management: Given the international mobility of affluent clients, MFOs often specialise in managing global wealth, addressing cross-border investments, international tax compliance, and asset protection.
- Sustainable and impact investing: Some MFOs incorporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into their investment strategies, allowing clients to align their investments with their values.
The advantages of setting up a multi-family office in DWTC
Selecting Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) as the location for your multi-family office offers a host of strategic advantages. DWTC is centrally situated in Dubai’s business and financial district, making it easily accessible to clients, investors, and partners. Its proximity to key economic hubs and international transport links positions your multi-family office at the heart of global commerce. Dubai’s business-friendly environment, characterised by favorable tax policies and regulatory frameworks, further enhances the appeal of DWTC as a choice location. Moreover, DWTC boasts state-of-the-art facilities, including modern office spaces, meeting rooms, and networking opportunities, providing the ideal backdrop for delivering comprehensive wealth management services to high-net-worth clients in a dynamic and well-connected setting.
How to set up a multi-family office in DWTC
In order for a company to be registered as a multi-family office in DWTC, it cannot be set up as a branch of an existing company it must be established as an independent entity, either a Free Zone Entity (FZE) or Free Zone Company (FZCO) and is subject to the standard requirements applicable to these business structures in Dubai.
- MFO qualification process: The first step involves submission of an application via DWTC’s online portal with the following documents:
- Proof of family offices/businesses that the MFO intends to service
- A statement of proof, declaring that the MFO clients are not politically exposed persons
- An undertaking letter signed by the applicant/s
- Completed MFO questionnaire
- A business plan including the number of clients that will be serviced by the MFO, a description and location of the client activities and the scope of the services envisaged at the time of incorporation.
- Incorporation process: Once the initial application is approved and deemed eligible for an MFO licence, the applicant must select the type of entity to be incorporated (FZE/FZCO) and follow DWTCs standard application process, submitting all required documents and ensuring that they are notarised by a notary public and attested by the UAE embassy in the country of origin or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the UAE.
- Approval and registration: Once all application requirements have been met and approved by the Dubai World Trade Centre Authority, the MFO will receive a certificate of incorporation, memorandum and articles of association and an E-licence reflecting the name and MFO activity. At this point, the MFO will be required to secure office space in DWTC and will then be given permission to begin operating.
How can Global Link help?
Global Link has over 16 years’ experience working with local and global businesses, providing bespoke consultancy services for company incorporation in Dubai and the wider UAE.
We can help you set up a multi-family office in DWTC, guiding you through the legal and regulatory landscape, assisting with the application process for the necessary licenses, approvals and permits and liaising with the relevant authorities on your behalf. We can also handle all administrative tasks such as document preparation, notarisation and translation, and assistance with visa processing and ongoing compliance to ensure your MFO remains in good standing with regulatory authorities.
If you need assistance with this or any other company incorporation, visa or PRO service in the UAE, please get in touch with us on +971 4 553 9901 or email us at [email protected] and we will be happy to assist you.