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ADGM Company Setup: Step-by-Step

Abu Dhabi Global Market – known often simply as ADGM – is an international financial centre in the UAE that was established in 2013 and since then has issued almost 2,500 registrations. It is a major player and a very attractive proposition for many business owners.

If you’re interested in setting up in the UAE, and specifically ADGM, then this article will take you through all the key steps needed in your journey. While it is not overly complex, it does require some specialist knowledge to ensure that the setup procedure is both easy and fully compliant. For that reason, it’s recommended to work with a company formation specialist, so you can be sure all the key details have been taken care of, and your company gets the best possible start.

So in this article we will break down everything you need to know. This includes:

  • What is ADGM?
  • Benefits of starting a holding company in ADGM, UAE
  • Steps to register a company in ADGM, UAE
  • Cost of a holding company license in ADGM, UAE
  • Can a foreigner start a holding company in the UAE?

What is ADGM?
ADGM is an international financial free zone operating under English Common Law (the first time English Common Law has been directly applied in the Middle East). It is governed by three independent authorities: the Registration Authority (RA), the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) and ADGM Courts.

It is open to industries including financial services, professional services, tech and more, and is well-known as an attractive location for corporate headquarters, as well as holding companies and Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs).

It is located in a region that has easy access to the rest of the Middle East, as well as the continents of Europe and Africa. In short, by setting up here, you’re giving yourself the best possible chance of success in a trusted financial centre.

Benefits of starting a holding company in ADGM, UAE
ADGM is globally recognised for its business-friendly ecosystem, and if you’re in the market to buy real estate, hold stock in other companies, or hold other assets (including intellectual property) then it’s worth considering ADGM.

Here are just some of the key benefits that you can find at ADGM:

  • Separate legal identity: ADGM holding companies offer entrepreneurs the chance to mitigate risk
  • No share capital requirement: This, along with the lack of requirement to take a physical office, means a holding company at ADGM can be cost-effective
  • English Common Law: Reassurance that you’re working within a well-established legal framework
  • Minimum requirements: Only one shareholder and one director required
  • Customisation: When it comes to articles of association
  • Tax: UAE tax residency and access to UAE double tax treaty network
  • Other benefits: You can also benefit from migration and continuation of existing corporate entities; there is no attestation of documents; and you can hold multiple classes of shares

Steps to register a company in ADGM, UAE
There are a number of steps when it comes to registering a company in ADGM, and a solid understanding of a number of areas is required to do so, including company structures and the actual licensing process.

So let’s look at some key points when it comes to setting up in ADGM:

  • You will first need to put together all necessary documents (business plan, articles of association, copies of passport of key personnel, etc.) prior to making your application
  • Make your application on the ADGM portal
  • Once your application has been approved, you will receive your license (usually within 10 days)

At this stage, it is worth working with a specialist to ensure your ADGM business is set up smoothly and efficiently.

When you’re looking to set up in ADGM you can be sure what you’re getting from Creative Zone is the latest, up-to-date information from people who deal with this every day.

While the setup process can be somewhat stressful, you can fast-track it by working with a company formation specialist. It’s the quickest way to get set up in the UAE, letting us take care of all the details and ensuring your application is free from errors.

We can also help you with opening a corporate bank account, and also offer important advice on the type of financial institution that would best suit your requirements.

Here at Creative Zone, we offer you the best solutions to start your company in the UAE. You get fast, reliable and unbiased advice on your unique business setup requirements. We can help you choose the right kind of license for your chosen business activity/activities and take you through the entire process from start to finish.

You can let us deal with the hassle of registering a company while you focus on your business. And working with us means you get the best budget friendly and cost-effective solution to help make your business dream a reality.

Over a period of 10 years, Creative Zone has helped over 36,000 entrepreneurs set up their businesses. Whether it be a mainland business setup, offshore company setup, free zone company setup or issuing of trade licenses and any related activity for registering a company, Creative Zone is your one-stop-shop.

Cost of a holding company license in ADGM, UAE
To get an accurate price, contact Creative Zone to ensure that you receive a tailored price that suits your exact needs. But speaking approximately, incorporating a holding company or Special Purpose Vehicle should cost around USD 3,000 for the first year. This price is made up from the ADGM license fee, plus fees for an office address and professional services. In the second year, the ADGM fee reduces to USD 1,200.

Can a foreigner start a holding company in the UAE?
Yes, a foreigner can set up in ADGM, with 100% foreign ownership of UAE holding companies available. Applications are open in both financial and non-financial business activities.

If setting up in ADGM sounds like the right move for you, then simply contact Creative Zone to get your new company set up, and start the next chapter in your business life.


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