The issuance of UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 2018 on Financial Leasing aims to facilitate the ease of availing financing and conducting business for small to medium enterprises (SMEs). The new Law has been in effect since 1 January 2019.

The SME sector plays a critical role in achieving the UAE government’s developmental goals, as SMEs constitute the backbone of its economy. In Dubai in particular, SMEs represent 95% of all establishments that are registered in the Emirate. Thus, the government has taken steps to strengthen the performance of SMEs over the last few years, equipping them with the right tools and financing mechanisms.

What is the Financial Leasing Law?

Effectively, the Law regulates finance leasing in the UAE and specifies the commercial arrangements between parties to a leasing contract. Some of the key principles and enhancements introduced by the Law include:

  1. Registration with the UAE Central Bank: all entities facilitating financial leasing activities in the UAE (Leasing Company) are required to secure a license to operate from the UAE Central Bank. Non-compliance will be subject to imprisonment or fines.
  2. Contractual arrangements: financial leasing is governed by a supply contract (between the Leasing Company and the supplier) and a leasing contract (between the Leasing Company and the Lessee) for the purchase and use of the Leased Assets respectively.

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To speak to us in relation to any financial regulatory issues in the UAE, please feel free to contact one of the lawyers below, or your usual Baker McKenzie contact.

Author

Mazen Boustany is the UAE Head of the Financial Regulatory, Policy & Legislative Group of Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, based in Dubai. He has over 22 years' experience in banking and finance law in the Middle East, including financial services regulation, Islamic finance, structured finance, securitisation, private equity, financial structuring and restructuring, cross-border transactions and investment funds. Mazen has helped draft many of the financial regulations for the UAE Central Bank and Ministry of Finance.

Author

Sandeep Puri is the Head of the UAE Banking & Finance practice of Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla, based in Dubai. He has extensive experience advising on all aspects of banking, finance and capital market matters across the Middle East. Sandeep has been based in the UAE since 2003 and has worked on both conventional and Islamic finance transactions across various asset classes, including project finance, corporate finance, asset finance, real estate and capital markets (including sukuk).

Author

Hazem Hebaishi is an associate in Baker McKenzie's Corporate and Commercial team based in Dubai. He focuses on corporate M&A, restructurings and reorganizations, as well as general corporate and compliance matters.

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