ADGM issues regulatory framework for robo-advisers

Oversight development to boost FinTech sector in Abu Dhabi

ADGM, Capital Markets Authority of Kenya signed an agreement to cooperate on sustainable finance. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National 
Powered by automated translation

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) rolled out a regulatory framework for digital investment managers, also known as “robo-advisers”, to boost financial technology (FinTech) activity and provide investment-related services, the regulator of one of the fastest-growing financial hubs in the Middle East and North Africa said on Monday.

Robo-advisers provide automated financial guidance and services with no human interaction involved for the client because decisions are based on programmed algorithms.

“With this guidance, we aim to make it easier for digital investment businesses to operate in ADGM and in turn provide investors with greater access to professional investment tools,” said Richard Teng, chief executive of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM, adding that robo-enabled advice that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics has enormous potential to improve investment decision-making in the Middle East and Africa region.

"We look forward to welcoming more robo-advisers to establish their presence in Abu Dhabi in ADGM and support investors with their innovative solutions."

The regulatory framework issued by ADGM outlines permissions that may be required to provide digital investment services in or from the financial centre and how the FSRA will apply its authorisation criteria in technology governance and newer areas such as algorithm governance.

According to ADGM, digital investment managers have the potential to play an important role in promoting financial inclusion and provide a wider range of options for retail client investors in the Middle East and Africa region.

“To support the industry, the FSRA has prepared this guidance to illustrate how its regulatory framework applies to these businesses and how robo-advisers can operate more effectively in ADGM,” the statement said.

The development comes as ADGM puts emphasis on boosting the FinTech sector in the capital. Last week, it announced it will be accepting applications from local and international financial institutions for establishing digital banks.

The capital’s financial centre also announced a framework to regulate digital currencies last year.