Money Services Firm (MSF) ADGM

What are the FSRA & ADGM and what do they do?

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) is the independent regulatory authority responsible for overseeing all financial activities within the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM). It ensures that the financial sector operates transparently, efficiently, and in compliance with international standards.

The Abu Dhabi Global Market is a specialized financial-free zone in Abu Dhabi, designed to attract premier investment firms, fintech companies, and professional services firms. Together, the ADGM and FSRA create a symbiotic relationship offering a conducive business environment. Both authorities have positioned themselves as leading financial hubs for the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region, bolstering Abu Dhabi’s status as a global financial centre.

Why establish a Money Services Firm in Abu Dhabi?

An established MSF in Abu Dhabi benefits from:

  • Strategic Location: Situated at the crossroads of East and West, serving as a global gateway to two-thirds of the world’s most attractive growth markets.
  • Strong Economic Ties: Robust economic connections with major global economies like the United States, China, and the European Union.
  • Diversified Economy: Supported by strong economic foundations and a resilient, dynamic economic structure.
  • Attractive Tax Regime: Zero taxes on personal or corporate income and profits during a long-term period, alongside numerous double taxation treaties.
  • No Restrictions on Foreign Talent and Capital: No restrictions on foreign talent, capital repatriation, or currency exchange controls for existing groups’ branches or subsidiaries in ADGM.
  • Forward-Looking Regulations: Embracing innovation and digitization, with forward-looking regulations and regional governance standards.
  • ADGM’s Unique Legal Framework: Operating under a legal framework aligned with English Common Law and its own civil and commercial laws and regulations.
  • FSRA’s Robust Legislation Model: Built on the legal framework used by global financial centres ensuring a stable and secure system.

Regulated Activities

The FSRA categorizes Money Services Firms to effectively regulate them, clearly defining their service offerings within the ADGM Free Zone. The Financial Services Permission (FSP) license for MSF in ADGM is the Category 3C License.

License CategoryFinancial Services
Category 3C1. Currency exchange
2. Money Remittance
3. Payment Account Provider
4. Stored Value Provider

Regulatory Capital Requirements

Minimum regulatory capital requirements for Category 3C License are presented below:

License Category Capital Requirements
Category 3C250,000 USD
*with exceptions for certain already authorised persons

Application Fees

The application fees for Category 3C license depend on the activity for which the firm will apply, and especially whether they will have the ability to perform Payment Services or not. Incorporation fees for the establishment of the legal entity in Abu Dhabi are independent of the License Category.

Annual Fees

License renewal fees for Category 3C license also depend on the activity for which the firm will apply, and especially whether will have the ability to perform Payment Services or not.

Licensing Timeframe

In our experience, in order for a Category 3C License from the initial introduction to being fully operational, the process can be concluded in under 12 months. Yet, we advise our clients to budget for 12 to 14 months. This is in anticipation of the varying workload by the regulatory bodies and reverting to both ADGM and FSRA promptly with the required information and/or additional documents.

Obtaining a Money Services Firm License with SALVUS

The SALVUS Payment Services Licensing team, comprised of industry-leading experts, stands ready to assist you in obtaining an MSF license by employing a project management approach. We support you throughout the entire licensing process by acting as a reliable link between the supervisory authorities, FSRA and ADGM, and your applying Money Services Firm.

Once your MSF license has been successfully granted, our Regulatory Compliance team is determined to guide you in meeting all your regulatory and reporting obligations.

Contact us at info@salvusfunds.com if you are interested in establishing a Money Services Firm in Abu Dhabi; we look forward to working together and being of value.