“The problem with professional licenses… is that they don’t have limited liability …so you are the asset!”

The Grid: Thank you for speaking at ‘Business Set-up Dubai’, an event by The Grid, where we heard a lot of questions about working as a ‘consultant’ in Dubai.

Effectively, this is where you set up your own company which gives you your own employment residency visa and offer services to other companies. There seem to be a lot of people, who came out here with the Big 4 or a big bank but now opening up their own shop, so to speak. What is the proper business licence for a consultant or consultancy in Dubai?

Stuart Curtis: Anything with ‘consulting’ in it, really, strictly speaking, is a ‘Professional License’.

A professional license can have more than one partner but you can actually request that it is turned into a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a free zone company with one partner or a FZCo, which usually has two partners.

The Grid: What are the limitations of a professional licence?

Stuart Curtis: The problem with professional licenses and with FZE’s, in most cases, is that they don’t have limited liability so you don’t sit behind this company as a shareholder. You are the asset!

The Grid: So you are personally exposed to liability?

Stuart Curtis: Yes, if you actually provide advice to somebody and he believes that the advice wasn’t very good and he decides to sue you, then you can be held personally liable.

That is a big difference between being held personally liable and having a company limited to its share capital.

That’s what you need to be aware of. That’s why, for me, a Limited Liability Company or LLC is always the much preferred route.

Interview by May Khizam, Founder & Chief Strategist, The Grid Media Ltd

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