Last update: 28 August 2020
6 min read

Complete Guide to DFSA Forex Brokers

Are you looking for the very best DFSA regulated brokers? You’ve come to the right place. Our experts are here to share information on the DFSA with you and help you discover the top brokers regulated by the DFSA, paving the way for a smooth road into trading in Dubai.

Dubai is is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates which make up the country. Contained within Dubai is the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which has its own legal system and courts, separate from those of the wider UAE.

Heading up the regulation of financial services is the Dubai Financial Services Authority. The DFSA operates within the special economic zone only and aims to provide a regulatory environment of international standards. Operations outside of the boundaries of the DIFC are overseen by the UAE’s federal Securities and Commodities Authority.

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Which DFSA measures will keep me safe when trading?

For more than a decade, it was not possible for retail brokers to set up shop and acquire clients with small amounts of capital. The DFSA only allowed brokers to acquire clients considered to be professional traders. This was because a limit of more than $1 million in liquid assets was required. If a broker wished to attract retail clients, it had to get a specific retail endorsement – which very few brokers actually did.

The reason for the authority’s change of heart was increased interest in offering FX trading to retail customers, in and from the DIFC. There would, however, be a number of legal limitations, systems and controls requirements. Mainly, these revolved around the use of UAE Dirhams, which are strictly prohibited in the Financial Centre.

Additional controls and measures included:

  • A standard risk disclosure statement signed by each retail client
  • Minimum relevant experience requirements for compliance and client facing staff
  • Five years experience in providing services in retail products under the supervision of a recognized regulator
  • Segregation and monitoring of clients
  • Margin requirements – a minimum margin of 2% and 5% for major and other currency pairs

Discovering the best DFSA regulated brokers

As restrictions have gradually relaxed in recent years, the choice of DFSA regulated brokers has expanded. This has made it easier to find the best DFSA regulated brokers as you’re no longer limited to just a few options.

Take a look at some of the most popular brokers in the DFSA which are open to new traders, and make sure you check their license number before choosing them.

Why the DIFC was created

Dubai Financial Services AuthorityThe Dubai International Financial Centre was created in 2004, following the UAE Federal Decree No. 35 of 2004, UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 2004 and Dubai Law No. 12 of 2004.

The aim of this financial center is to provide a platform for business and financial institutions to tap into and out of the emerging regional markets. It is intended to create a positive environment for growth, progress and economic development in the UAE and further afield by supplying the necessary legal, business and physical infrastructure in accordance with international standards.

What is the DFSA?

The DFSA (Dubai Financial Services Authority) was created in 2004 as part of the establishment of the DIFC. It is an independent regulator of financial services conducted in or from the International Financial Centre. The financial and ancillary services it regulates includes:

  • Asset management
  • Credit and banking services
  • Collective investment funds
  • Securities
  • Commodities futures trading
  • Trust and custody services
  • Islamic finance
  • International equities exchange
  • Insurance
  • International commodities derivatives exchange

The DFSA is also responsible for supervising and enforcing anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing. It can investigate the affairs of regulated companies, including DFSA brokers, if it is suspected DIFC laws have been broken.

What the DFSA does

As well as regulating the best brokers in Dubai, the DFSA can also help with:

  • Keeping you up to date with the latest regulatory news
  • Finding out whether a firm is regulated
  • Gaining an overview of investments in general
  • Advice on avoiding scams
  • Finding out how to resolve complaints and disputes

    What you can do if you have problems with DFSA regulated brokers

    There are mechanisms in place to handle customer complaints. Your first port of call should always be the DFSA regulated broker. It is your duty to try and resolve the problem directly with the firm in the first instance. It is also likely to be much quicker and more efficient, as well as being in the best interests of the company.

    It is always best to put your concerns in writing, as it is a permanent record of your issue. When you contact the company, you must set out all the circumstances of the complaint as clearly and simply as possible. If you are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution with the company directly, it is possible to contact the DFSA.

    However, the DFSA will only look at complaints which are submitted in writing. Each complaint received by the DFSA is carefully assessed in order to decide the most appropriate course of action. It’s worth noting that it will not seek commercial outcomes for those raising the complaint – unless it is in the public interest.

    The authority will liaise with DFSA specialists, contact witnesses, consult with other regulators and contact the firm in order to fully investigate the complaint. In general, the process should take no longer than 28 days from receipt of the complaint. However, it could take longer for exceptionally complex cases.

    Following the investigation, you will be informed whether it is going to taken any further and what action – if any – is going to be taken.

    As you can now appreciate, things are a little different for those wanting to trade forex in Dubai. We would always suggest you pick a broker that has been DFSA licensed as this is the best way to protect yourself and safeguard your investment.

    How can I tell if a broker is regulated by the DFSA?

    It’s usually quite easy to find a broker which is regulated by the DFSA. The best way to do this is to check the broker’s website first. Ordinarily, there will be a license number and organization listed on the site.

    Once you’ve found it, you can double check this on the DFSA’s own list. This will give you peace of mind and help you to avoid scam sites who merely pretend to have a valid license number.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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