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Thu 9 Apr 2009 12:17 AM

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Dubai’s regulator to get tougher

CEO of DFSA says 'light touch' regulation days for companies over as it aims to bring in more robust regime.

The days of 'light touch' regulation in Dubai are over, Paul Koster, CEO of the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) said in an interview with London’s Financial Times, published Wednesday.Koster said the regulator is upping the number of visits to members of the Dubai International Financial Centre by around 20 percent. But he was quick to stress that moving away from 'light touch' regulation doesn’t mean the DFSA intends moving to the opposite extreme by over-regulating.

For Koster, the key now is trying to be as flexible as possible, but also being even more attuned to what is going on in the financial markets. The DFSA's recent focus, for example, has been on anti-money laundering measures.

Koster, who has also been mindful of the possibility of a Bernie Madoff type scandal erupting in the DFIC, launched a stress test back in January to determine the likelihood of similar ponzi type schemes emerging. The DFSA concluded that such frauds were not only less likely, but also could be dealt with more quickly, the FT report said.

That said, spot checks of companies will be on the menu.

Five weeks ago, meanwhile, the DFSA warned against a fraudulent investment scheme claiming to be endorsed by the regulator.

The letters, using the DFSA letter head, stated that the recipient had won several hundred thousand US dollars in the 'Middle East-Asia Promotion' sponsored by the 'Emirates Foundation'.

In order to claim the prize, individuals were advised to transfer a sum of money to the DFSA for 'registration of funds meant for international remittance before such funds could be approved for release'.

A person purporting to be the head of the International Swift Remittance/Transfer Department of a UAE Bank provided instructions on how to make the transfer.

It won’t be the last such scheme passing across Koster’s desk.

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