The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) has approved Mazars Middle East as a registered auditor and ancillary service provider in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). The firm becomes the 13th registered auditor, a group which includes two different Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers members, and the 41st registered ancillary service provider within Dubai’s financial free zone.
Frédéric Allilaire, a senior adviser to the Mazars group executive board, said the firm learned two or three years ago that the DFSA wanted audit firms and service providers to register in the DIFC. However, the decision to register was more based on requests from Mazars clients that wanted to conduct business in the free zone.
Allilaire said the registration process was quite straightforward, although it took several months. The process was made easier due to two Mazars Middle East group partners being members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), a professional body that is recognised by the DIFC. “The main concern is to be sure that the partners of the entity are properly trained to offer professional services to the business community,” Allilaire explained.
The firm is now on the hunt for new clients registered in the free zone and expects that registration will lead to a substantial amount of extra work – including domestic, international and government work. “It is also a vehicle that we will use for co-ordination purposes in the region… we have plans to develop Mazars’ presence in the Middle East,” Allilaire said.
Another key to Mazars’s development in the region has been the recent accreditation of the Dubai office as an approved training centre by the ICAEW.
Mazars’s largest office in the Middle East is in Egypt, where Allilaire estimates there are about 300 staff members. There are 80 across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, 60-80 in Saudi Arabia and about 20 in Oman. “We have plans to develop Mazars in the region and we intend in 2008 and 2009 to develop Mazars in Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar,” Allilaire added.
In addition to developing Mazars in the Middle East, the firm is expanding in Africa. Last year, the former Moores Rowland International member in South Africa joined the Mazars Group. Allilaire said the firm, which operates as Mazars Moores Rowland, now has about 600 staff and will be used as a platform for the group to develop within Southern Africa. “That would have the capability to be the back office for developing the Anglo-speaking South African parts,” Allilaire explained.
Mazars Portugal is also involved in development within Africa – it is working to develop Mazars in Angola. “The political situation of [Angola] has now stabilised and it is in fact in a reconstruction mood,” Allilaire said.