Financial Institutions in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi provides a varied pool of financial institutions that cater to different business needs of the Emirate’s residents. Banks, representative offices, investment companies, moneychangers, finance companies and monetary intermediaries are the main types of financial institutions available in Abu Dhabi.
A bank is a financial establishment that allows individuals and business to open accounts, deposit and withdraw funds, request for loans and exchange currency among others. In UAE, aside from the Central bank, there are three major types of banks: commercial banks, Islamic banks and investment banks.
Commercial banks are the locally integrated banks and branches of foreign banks. The Central bank defines locally integrated banks as shareholding companies licensed in accordance with provisions of Union Law No. (10) of 1980, and foreign banks as banks, which have obtained Central Bank's licences to operate in the country as per provisions of the said Law.
Both banks offer services ranging from account opening to financing facilities such as loans and credit cards. The financing services are offered, mainly on an interest basis.
Click on the following links to view a list of commercial banks operating in UAE:
Islamic banks are banks that follow the principles of Shariaa Law and are regulated by Federal Law No. 6 of 1985 regarding Islamic banks, financial institutions and investment companies. The Islamic banking deal more with profit, which is divided between the bank and the customer.
The Islamic banks offer services ranging from account opening to financing facilities such as loans and credit cards. The services can be claimed by individuals and businesses regardless of their religious background or beliefs.
As per Law No. (10) of 1980, an investment bank is a bank that does not accept deposits whose maturities are less than two years, but may borrow from its head office, from local or foreign banks, or from financial markets. In addition to the traditional services and products provided by a commercial bank, investment banks provide a broader scope of services dealing more with wealth planning, asset management, trading and execution, among others.
Click here to view a list of investment banks.
Financial Investment Companies
Financial investment companies are companies investing money on behalf of clients, sharing profits and losses, and holding and managing securities. A financial investment company is a legally authorised person with a minimum capital of AED 25 million, to be increased according to the business needs.
Financial investment companies are specialised in:
- opening investment accounts and managing business portfolios on behalf of individuals or companies,
- preparing feasibility studies for projects and marketing allotments and stocks of shareholding companies,
- establishing and managing investment funds,
- subscribing to companies’ capital and participating in syndicated loans.
Click here to view a list of financial investment companies in UAE.
Moneychanger is a money exchange agency dealing in exchanging currencies and transferring money throughout the world. As per the statistics from Central bank, dating back to 2014, Abu Dhabi is home to 30 moneychangers with a total of branches reaching 192.
Customers can transfer money to any place they want locally or internationally by providing an official identification proof such as passport or Emirates ID or UAE driving licence and a proof of income, in case it exceeds AED 2000. Fees and services might differ from an agency to another.
To start a money changer business, companies need to have a national shareholding not less than 60% of the total paid-up capital and a minimum capital at AED 1 Million or AED 2 Million, depending on the scope of activities the applicant wishes to undertake. Additionally, the resolution requires that the natural person should be a UAE national of not less than 21 years of age.
Click here for a list of Moneychangers in UAE.
Finance companies are companies that provide credit facilities for corporates and individuals, but shall not accept deposits from individuals. They extend advances and personal loans for personal various consumption purposes, finance trade and business, open credit, issue guarantees in favour of customers, subscribe to the capital of projects and issues stocks, bonds and certificates of deposit.
Click here for a list of finance companies.
Financial and Monetary Intermediaries
The financial and monetary intermediaries are any natural or juridical persons, other than financial institutions, licensed to conduct the business of financial and monetary brokerage.
An intermediary should be a UAE citizen in the case of natural persons, and national shareholding should not be less than 60% of total paid-up capital in the case of companies. The minimum capital should be AED 1 Million, AED 2 Million or AED 3 Million according to the scope of activities the intermediary intends to carry on.
Local and foreign intermediaries are licensed by the Securities and Commodities Authority of the UAE, while Central Bank of the UAE grants licence to brokerage firms dealing in currencies and commodities as well as intermediating in currency market transactions.
Click here for a list of financial and Monetary intermediaries.
A representative office is an office that represents a bank or any other financial institution established in foreign countries. The business of these offices is regulated and supervised by the head office and/or the authorities at the country of origin.
The representation is limited to administrative and consultation roles; the offices do not offer any direct financial services such as loans or credit cards. The office acts also as a marketer of the financial institution services in the local market.
Click here for a list of representative offices in Abu Dhabi.
Website of the Central Bank of the UAE