Finance

LAW

Banking Law

REFERENCE Law 28/2001
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 29, 2001
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 16, 2001
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Private banks are incorporated as joint stock companies.
  • Foreign participation in Syrian banks may reach 60%.
  • The minimum capital requirements are set at SYP 10 billion.
  • Permits the financial repatriation of capital, profits, etc.
  • The Prime Minister has the authority whether to approve or reject applications for banks.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • This Law reverses the effects of Law 117/1961 passed during the Nasser era and Legislative Decree 37/1963 enacted by the Baath Party, which nationalized the private banks at the time in a bid to facilitate socialist policies.
  • Law 28/2001 was amended by Law 3/2010, which increases foreign ownership participation and minimum capital requirements to their current levels.
  • In accordance with Law 23/2002, the banking sector falls under the authority of the Monetary and Credit Council, which also manages the Central Bank.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This Law was enacted during the time Syria began to gradually liberalize its economy by firstly promoting the banking sector for private investment but not before plans for a social market economy were officially announced.

LAW

Banking Secrecy Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 30/2010
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 15, 2010
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • The basic protections afforded to clients safeguard their accounts, safes, transactions and deposits.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • Replaces the previous law contained in Legislative Decree 34/2005.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This law was passed in line with efforts to enhance the practices of the banking profession at a time when the Syrian market was being promoted as a potential base for local and foreign investors.

LAW

Banking Courts Law

REFERENCE Law 21/2014
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 3, 2014
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on November 5, 2014
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Courts of first instance and appeal shall be set up throughout the provinces to handle cases where one of the parties to the lawsuit is either a bank or other financial establishment.
RELATED LEGISLATION
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This Law was enacted against the backdrop of internal conflict in Syria presumably in order to deal with matters of substantial debt defaults, among others, that arose during the ongoing unrest.

LAW

Islamic Banks Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 35/2005
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on May 4, 2005
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Islamic banks are subject to certain provisions of Law 28/2001.
  • Islamic banks may not conduct their transactions on an interest rate basis.
  • The minimum capital requirements are set at SYP 15 billion.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • To be read in accordance with the relevant provisions contained in Law 28/2001.
  • Legislative Decree 35/2005 was amended by Law 3/2010, which increases foreign ownership participation and minimum capital requirements to their current levels.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This law was enacted during the time Syria began to gradually liberalize its economy by firstly promoting the banking sector for private investment but not before plans for a social market economy were officially announced.

LAW

Investment Banks Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 56/2010
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on July 25, 2010
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Investment banks are subject to certain provisions of Law 28/2001.
  • Investment banks are permitted to offer consultancy services on various financial activities.
  • The minimum capital requirements are set at SYP 20 billion.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • To be read in accordance with the relevant provisions contained in Law 28/2001.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this law sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.

LAW

Financial Leasing Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 88/2010
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 2, 2010
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Financial leasing companies may be set up conventionally or as Sharia-compliant Islamic financial leasing companies in the form of joint stock companies.
  • Foreign participation may reach 60%.
  • The minimum capital requirements are set at SYP 500 million for conventional companies while they are fixed at SYP 750 million for Sharia-compliant companies.
  • Permits the financial repatriation of capital, profits, etc.
RELATED LEGISLATION
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this law sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.

LAW

Mortgage Finance Law

REFERENCE Law 15/2012
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 28, 2012
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on March 29, 2012
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Mortgage finance and refinance companies are incorporated in the form of joint stock companies.
  • Foreign participation is limited to 49%.
  • The minimum capital requirements are set at SYP 1.5 billion for mortgage finance companies, SYP 1 billion for Sharia-compliant mortgage finance companies and SYP 2.5 billion for mortgage refinance companies.
  • Permits the financial repatriation of capital, profits, etc.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • In accordance with Law 39/2009, the mortgage finance sector is supervised by the Mortgage Finance Supervisory Commission.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • This Law was enacted against the backdrop of internal conflict in Syria but which the government nevertheless promoted to encourage commercial dealings.

LAW

Microfinance Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 15/2007
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on February 19, 2007
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Microfinance institutions are subject to certain provisions of Law 28/2001.
  • These entities are more concerned with providing finance and other banking and insurance services to low-income groups that are unable to obtain loans from conventional banks.
  • The minimum capital requirements are set at SYP 250 million.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • To be read in accordance with the relevant provisions contained in Law 28/2001.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this law sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.

LAW

Foreign Exchange Law

REFERENCE Law 24/2006
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on March 20, 2006
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on April 24, 2006
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Private foreign exchange businesses are incorporated as either joint stock companies or general partnerships between individual Syrian nationals.
  • Foreign participation in joint stock companies is limited to a 25% shareholding.
  • The minimum capital requirements are set at SYP 200 million for foreign exchange offices in remote areas, SYP 400 million for foreign exchange offices in general and SYP 2 billion for foreign exchange companies.
  • Permits the financial repatriation of capital, profits, etc.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • In accordance with Law 29/2012, which is amended by Law 18/2013, the criminal penalties contained in Law 24/2006 and applicable to individuals and businesses that practice the foreign exchange profession without a license have been increased.
  • Amended by Law 29/2017.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this Law sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.

LAW

Currency Transaction Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 54/2013
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on August 4, 2013
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Criminalizes the sale of goods priced in any currency other than the Syrian Pound in order to increase demand for the local currency.
RELATED LEGISLATION
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • As a result of the unrest that gripped Syria since 2011, the sudden fluctuations in the local currency led a number of merchants and other individuals to conduct sales and other transactions in US Dollars, which added more strain on the Syrian Pound.
  • This law was passed in an attempt to curb US Dollar transactions.

LAW

Securities Exchange Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 55/2006
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 1, 2006
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Lays down legislation governing the Damascus Securities Exchange (DSE), which eventually opened in March 2009.
  • The DSE is comprised of the primary market and two secondary markets.
  • Foreign securities may be traded on the DSE.
  • Permits the financial repatriation of capital, profits, etc.
RELATED LEGISLATION
  • The DSE is regulated by the Syrian Commission on Financial Markets and Securities set up by Law 22/2005.
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this law sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.

LAW

DSE Listing Rules

REFERENCE DSE Regulation 505/2010
DATE OF PROMULGATION Issued by Dr. Ahmad Rateb Al-Challah, Chairman of the Board of the DSE, on January 17, 2010
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Lists the relevant listing rules for joint stock companies wishing to offer their shares on the primary market and the two secondary markets.
RELATED LEGISLATION
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this Regulation sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.

LAW

Government Securities Law

REFERENCE Legislative Decree 60/2007
DATE OF PROMULGATION Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on October 1, 2007
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • Regulates the government’s ability to borrow money through the issuance of treasury bills and bonds.
RELATED LEGISLATION
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this law sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.
  • The government at the time was planning to finance a large infrastructure program.

LAW

Accounting and Auditing Profession Law

REFERENCE Law 33/2009
DATE OF PROMULGATION Approved by the People’s Assembly on November 17, 2009
Promulgated by President Bashar Al-Assad on December 1, 2009
RELEVANT PROVISIONS
  • This Law differentiates between certified and non-certified accountants as well as auditors and internal auditors.
  • The accounting profession is mainly restricted to Syrian nationals with some exceptions for Arab individuals.
  • Accounting companies may partner up with international firms, though there is a 49% limit on foreign participation.
  • Syrian companies must procure the services of licensed auditors.
  • Sets up the Accounting and Auditing Council to supervise and develop the profession.
RELATED LEGISLATION
HISTORICAL CONTEXT
  • With the changes in economic policy towards a social market economy taking place, this Law sought to promote the Syrian market as a potential base for local and foreign investors.