Regulations include fines for non-compliance

Firms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could fall foul of new corporate governance rules and corporate discipline regulations unless they adopt a more systemic approach to managing risk, according to Marsh.

The Ministerial Resolution No.(518) of 2009 Concerning Governance Rules and Corporate Discipline Standards, which has been created by the Emirates Securities and Commodities Authority, comes into force on 30 April in the UAE.

After that date, companies listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and Dubai Financial Market will have to comply with new regulations, which are designed to establish new corporate governance standards in the UAE. The regulations, which include fines for non-compliance, will also apply to listed companies that are partially government owned.

Under the new regulations, affected firms will be required to have:

• An effective risk management system with procedures in place to determine, assess and manage major risks

• Basic control elements in place to manage these risks

• A system whereby the board of directors has ongoing control over the risks, the effectiveness of the risk management system and its annual reporting

• A Compliance Office and an internal-control specialised department to ensure compliance

• A designated Compliance Officer and Director of the Internal Control Department

Commenting on the new legislation, Domenic Antonucci, a Senior Risk Analyst with Marsh Risk Consulting in Abu Dhabi, said: “For the first time all listed UAE companies, and those aspiring to that standard, have been given a clear legislative driver to implement effective risk management systems across their organisations to promote better corporate governance.

“Good risk management delivers benefits far beyond compliance, such as competitive advantage and influencing an organisation’s total cost of risk and cost of capital. These new regulations will ensure that greater emphasis is placed on risk management and improving corporate governance in UAE in the long term.

“Corporate governance is still in its infancy in the UAE. These new regulations will present many organisations with a very steep learning curve in order to comply with its requirements.”