ADGM takes fintech ambitions further with Singapore deal

ADGM and Monetary Authority of Singapore will work together on "developments and initiatives that nurture fintech entrepreneurship and support innovation in financial services in both Abu Dhabi and Singapore".

Abu Dhabi Global Market has signed a deal with Singapore to develop financial technology (fintech) services in the capital’s financial hub.

ADGM announced a cooperation agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the country’s main market regulator, to work together on “developments and initiatives that nurture fintech entrepreneurship and support innovation in financial services in both Abu Dhabi and Singapore”. Richard Teng, the chief executive of the ADGM’s regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, said the deal was the first of its kind in the Middle East and would closely ally ADGM with Singapore, one of the leading fintech hubs in the world.

“We hope that through closer collaboration with like-minded fintech hubs, we are able to leverage the strengths and expertise of our markets to more efficiently address the immediate needs of the industry in our respective regions and anticipate the demands of the future,” Mr Teng said.

The agreement was signed at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi in the presence of Mohammed Al Gergawi, the Minister for Cabinet Affairs and the Future.

“The cooperation that is forged with ADGM marks another step towards strengthening links between regulators and fostering synergies in promoting innovation and developing capabilities through international cooperation,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, the chief fintech officer of MAS. “The agreement will open up new avenues and create opportunities for fintech firms in Singapore and Abu Dhabi looking to expand into each other’s markets.”

Both Abu Dhabi and Singapore have launched special regimes to encourage fintech initiatives in their financial centres.

In 2015, the Singapore “regulatory sandbox” allowed greater flexibility for fintech start-ups in its jurisdiction.

Abu Dhabi’s “regulatory laboratory” for fintech, launched last year, allows new companies to benefit from a more flexible regulatory regime in the early stages of their operation, before they go on to full regulatory membership of ADGM.

Mr Teng said that the “reglabs” were fully operational and that ADGM had received 11 fintech applications, including from companies in America, the UK, Singapore and India.

These are being evaluated before approval. A second batch of fintech applications will be welcomed shortly, he said.

Singapore is regarded as being at the global forefront of fintech development, along with London and New York.

“This cooperation will allow fintech players in Abu Dhabi to widen their horizons. It puts Abu Dhabi on a global status,” Mr Teng said.

Asia and the Mena regions have immense growth potential and a large underserved financial sector, he said.

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