UAE to focus on plans to regulate family-owned businesses

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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The UAE has mapped out the regulations of operations for the family-owned businesses in the country to ensure continuity over successive generations, the Minister of Economy stated.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, UAE’s Minister of Economy stressed the need for creating a legislative structure to unify the operations of family businesses by following international best practices.

Further, the minister noted that family businesses are a major focus area in the UAE’s efforts to build a more flexible and sustainable economic model so a clear plan has to be developed to enhance their leadership and competitiveness.

The remarks were made during the second meeting of representatives of Family Business Council-Gulf (FBCG), which was conducted to review the progress of work achieved by the teams and joint work committees.

Last year, Dubai issued a law regulating family-owned businesses in the emirate to protect family wealth and to increase their contribution to the country’s economic and social development.

Under the law, new family ownership contracts can be formed by setting out the rights and responsibilities of family members. The new regulation also mandates all parties of the contract to be members of the same family and have a common interest.

In September, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced that they have entered into a memorandum of understanding with the FBCG under which the two entities will come together on a research agenda that addresses the changing requirements of the family businesses in the emirate.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri
Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri
Minister of Economy

“The working team formed by the Ministry and FBCG have put in place a number of tracks to move forward in this regard, and formulate the necessary economic policies to provide a supportive and encouraging environment to enhance the contribution of family businesses and their significant roles in the diversification and growth of the national economy.”

The meeting was also attended by Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi (Minister of State for Foreign Trade), Abdulaziz Abdalla Al Ghurair (Chairman of the board of directors, member and honorary chairman of the FBCG), Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Saleh (undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy) and Omar Al Futtaim (vice-chairman of the board) along with several experts and advisors from both sides.

The ministry highlighted the need for continuing the cooperation with the FBCG and the important initiatives presented by the joint work teams that support the operations of this sector and provide it with the necessary legislative and organizational advice.

The joint-team has agreed to start work in the next phase according to fixed time frames and clear specifics and implementation mechanisms that focus on three main tracks. These include the development of policies that support the growth of family businesses, enhancing data collection regarding family companies and creating awareness on the importance of family business governance.

During the meeting, the two sides also agreed to form a technical committee headed by the Ministry and with the participation of FBCG and general advisors of the most important family companies, in order to follow up on the implementation of the plans and initiatives.