The Ministry of Economy announced that it has started accepting applications from family companies for their registration in the unified registry for family businesses. The initiative aims to align the practices of family businesses with global standards and support their continuity in line with the Federal Decree-Law No. 37 of 2022 on family businesses.

Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy, explained that the UAE, thanks to the directives of its wise leadership, is committed to developing a robust legislative and regulatory environment to enhance the growth of family businesses and support their continuity and sustainability over the coming decades, in accordance with global best practices. This commitment stems from the sector’s key role in promoting the growth of the national economy and supporting its regional and global competitiveness.

The Ministry had launched the Unified Registry for Family Companies by virtue of Cabinet Decision No. 109 of 2023, with an aim to build a comprehensive and standardised database containing all information related to family businesses in the country. The goal is to elevate the operations of these businesses to more competitive and diverse levels. Additionally, the Ministry has outlined a series of criteria and requirements for the enrolment of a family business in this registry.

The Ministry had also conducted a series of meetings with various government entities, including chambers of commerce and industry, licensing authorities in economic development departments and free zones to strengthen collaboration and coordination in order to streamline the registration of family businesses in the unified registry. These efforts cater to the needs of family businesses seeking registration and provide them with comprehensive support in this regard.

The Ministry explained that the request to register a family company in the unified registry must be submitted to the licensing authority that issued the economic licence to that company. The application will be forwarded to the Ministry of Economy, which will then make a decision after examining the company’s compliance with the regulations and conditions stipulated in the Family Businesses Law and related decisions. Once the review is successfully completed, the Ministry proceeds to register the applicant in the registry.

The Ministry further explained that as per cabinet decision No. 106 of 2023 concerning the submission of the family charter, family businesses have the option to voluntarily register their family charters with the Ministry. This charter encompasses specific details pertaining to the ownership, objectives, and family values, as well as mechanisms for evaluating shares and methods of distributing profits.

The Ministry affirmed that the registration of family companies in the unified registry contributes to enhancing business continuity through intergenerational transitions. This is particularly crucial as the Family Businesses Law governs the ownership of companies by defining their capital, how partners can dispose of their shares and the mechanisms to relinquish them, in addition to organising the right to redemption and evaluation of shares and their categories and their purchases.