Links Group, the UAE’s leading provider of commercial facilitation and advisory services, has been given an ‘A’ rating by the SME RATE Framework. An initiative of Dubai SME, the Framework is the first rating system for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) in the region and provides an independent assessment of their financial and non-financial performance.
Launched under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the SME RATE Framework aims to stimulate the growth of the SME sector and highlight the pivotal role it plays in advancing and diversifying the UAE economy. In this way the initiative will help to achieve the goals set by the Dubai Plan 2021, in particular to increase SME GDP contribution to 45% by 2021, up from its current 40%.
The Dubai SME Rating Framework ranks companies based on five weighted criteria: business performance, both financial and operational; innovation; international expansion; corporate governance; and corporate social responsibility. The five achievable ratings are A+, A, A-, B+ and B and only apply to companies with a turnover of between AED 2 million and AED 200 million, and which typically employ between five and 200 staff.
Established in 2002, Links Group partners, protects and enables foreign companies to enter the UAE and Qatar markets while safeguarding their status as business owners. Combining business acumen with robust legal counsel, Links Group ensures its clients are protected at all times, and that they can build a business which they own and control. It is also the only company of its kind to be associated with the Foreign Investment Office (FDI) of the Dubai Economic Department.
Commenting on the achievement, John Martin St.Valery, Founder and CEO of Links Group said: “We are very proud to be recognised as an ‘A’ Rated company by Dubai SME. It’s a great validation of the systems, processes and governance we have put in place to make Links Group a financially sound, innovative, growth company.
“We deal with a lot of multinational and large cap companies so it gives them great confidence to know that our systems are robust and in line with both regional and international standards. But more than a badge of honour, the framework also helps us to understand areas where we can improve or develop.
“We look forward to further supporting the Dubai Government in its mission to have more growth-oriented, innovative, capable, and sustainable enterprises from the UAE.”
Links Group’s operations are governed by a stringent corporate governance framework covering an ethics policy, a remuneration and fiscal committee and external audits, both financial and legal. Independent non-executive directors bring probity and independence to the board, while all executive board members are required to take external training to be certified as competent
board directors. This framework ensures that all stakeholders of the Links Group business—staff, shareholders, clients and partners—operate in a fully transparent manner.