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Financial Markets Tribunal Upholds The DFSA’s Withdrawal Of Royal Shield Ltd’s Licence











The Financial Markets Tribunal (FMT) has affirmed a decision by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to withdraw the licence of Royal Shield Ltd to carry on Financial Services in or from the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).  The DFSA withdrew the licence on the grounds that the firm is no longer fit and proper to hold the financial services licence. The firm disputed the DFSA’s original decision and referred it to the FMT for review. In a decision dated 8 May 2019, the FMT dismissed the reference and affirmed the DFSA’s decision. 

The DFSA decided on 30 September 2018 to withdraw Royal Shield Ltd’s licence based on concerns relating to:

  • the firm’s failure to maintain adequate financial resources to conduct and manage its affairs properly;
  • the lack of sufficient personnel, including not having a Finance Officer; a role which is required under the DFSA’s Rules; and
  • the firm not maintaining its required business premises in the DIFC for a considerable period.

On 14 November 2018, the firm referred the DFSA’s decision to withdraw its licence to the FMT for review.  The FMT is operationally independent of the DFSA and has its own rules of procedure. The FMT conducts a full merits review of DFSA decisions that are referred to it and determines the appropriate action for the DFSA to take. The FMT may uphold, vary or cancel the DFSA’s decision.

On several occasions, the FMT directed the firm to highlight the aspects of the DFSA’s decision with which it disagreed and the reasons why.  Royal Shield Ltd failed to comply with this direction, resulting in the FMT dismissing the firm’s reference and affirming the DFSA’s original decision.

Bryan Stirewalt, Chief Executive of the DFSA, said: “The DFSA requires all Authorised Firms to remain fit and proper, and maintain adequate resources, at all times.  When the DFSA has reason to believe a firm is failing in these obligations, it will take appropriate action, including, where necessary, withdrawing a firm’s licence. The DFSA welcomes the FMT’s decision on this matter.”

The FMT’s order can be found on the FMT section of the DFSA website, and a copy of it can be accessed via this link.  A copy of the DFSA’s Decision Notice detailing the reasons for its original decision can be found on the Regulatory Actions section of the DFSA website, and a copy of it can be accessed via this link.

The withdrawn status of the firm was noted in the DFSA’s public register, which can be accessed here. 

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