Setting Up a Corporate Bank Account in the UAE

Setting Up a Corporate Bank Account in the UAE

- Prakash Naik

With any trade licence in UAE whether it be mainland or freezone, it is normally a requirement to set up a corporate bank account. There are numerous options available and the UAE is known for being a financial hub so you are spoilt for choice, however the process and documents required to set up an account can be quite onerous.

Within the past two decades, the UAE has grown to become a leading global business centre commanding a key position in the global business and financial markets. Beyond this, the efficient banking system of the UAE provides many solutions for businesses to help boost their economic growth. However the UAE’s desire to conform with EU Transparency standards has meant that banks will need to obtain full information on Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) and to demonstrate that the company has the correct powers to open and operate banking in UAE. With that in mind, where do you start with opening a corporate bank account in the UAE?

How do I apply to open a corporate bank account?

To begin the process of setting up a company bank account, the following documents are required. Note that different banks do sometimes require alternative documents so it is best to contact the bank directly for a full list.

Once the following documents have been submitted to the bank and the application process is underway, the average time is 30 days to officially set up your corporate account.

The documents required for application are:

  • Corporate Documents: All corporate documents relating to the company, including Trade Licence, Memorandum of Association, Board Resolution or Shareholder Resolution (if present), Power of Attorney (POA) to open and operate the bank account and details on all Shareholders / Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) – ID documents for individuals or corporate documents for Corporate Shareholders.

Note that Foreign Corporate shareholders will need to get all relevant company documents (Certificate of Incorporation, Certificate of Incumbency, Articles of Association, Managers / Shareholder IDs and Board/Shareholder Resolution / POA) – Notarised and Attested in the Country of Origin through the UAE Embassy for use in the UAE, and legally translated in and stamped by MOFA and MOJ in UAE. Please ask a member of the PRO Partner Group Team for Foreign Document Attestation assistance.

  • Resume: To include the manager and company’s experience for at least the last five years, including the current place of work which must match the company in which you would like to open a corporate bank account.

  • Utility Bill: For the individual Managers who has powers to operate the bank account - his will be used as a proof of address and should be no older than three months.

  • Personal Bank Statement: This is normally required for each shareholder of the company for the past 6 months (if applicable).

  • Proof of Ownership: A document which proves that the applicant owns or has ownership of shares in the company in which you are applying. This can be a Certificate of Incumbency or an alternative document showing the detail of the shareholders which has been issued no later than six months previously.

  • Business Plan: The business plan should include details of the business activity, a financial plan, a plan on how you will develop your business, potential customers and details on the management staff and partners.

What fees are involved with a corporate bank account?

UAE local banks do not tend to charge any fees for a corporate account set up, however all local banks require a minimum monthly balance, if the funds drop below this predetermined amount, you will be charged penalty fees of approximately AED 250 per month. Each bank has different minimum monthly average balances depending on the type of account, deposit amounts etc – on average the balance starts at AED 50,000 up to AED 500,000 but there are some other banks which have an average of as low as AED 25,000.

What next steps should I take?

Options: You have the choice of banking with either an international bank (likes of HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citibank) or a local banks (such as ADCB, Emirates NBD, FAB, RAK Bank, United Arab Bank and many others), although local banks tend to be more flexible with small businesses and start ups.

Shortlist: Once you have shortlisted which banks you are interested in, do your research. Check what fees are applicable, what documentation is required, what the minimum monthly balance is and what any penalty costs are. It is also key to make sure that you have a good relationship manager who will be willing to come to you office to view documents and assist with applications as well as to manage the relationship ongoing – good communication lines is key for a smooth banking relationship.

Final Choice: Once you have your chosen bank, visit the desired branch to start the application process and make sure you have all of the required documents on hand. The official Manager/signatory/owner with relevant powers over banking of the company is the only person who is permitted to apply.


How can PRO Partner Group Assist?

PRO Partner Group (PPG) have good relationships with the majority of the main International and Local UAE Banks and can assist to introduce clients to reliable bank relationship managers to smooth the account opening process. Where PPG also act as Local Partner or National Service Agent (NSA) we can also liaise with the bank to provide relevant documents and ensure that the relevant powers are given to the Company Manager to open and operate the bank account.

For more information on opening a bank account in UAE please contact a member of the team on info@propartnergroup.com in Abu Dhabi +971 (0)2 448 5120, or Dubai +971 (0)4 456 1761, or contact me Greg Hastings direct on greg@propartnergroup.com or +971 (0)56 991 1278.

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