Dubai’s DFSA signs FinTech deal with Singapore regulator

Financial regulators pledge to collaborate on development of fintech industry

DIFC's FinTech Hive is designed to boost the UAE's standing as a financial innovation hub. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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The Dubai Financial Services Authority signed an agreement with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) under which the two regulators will collaborate on FinTech projects and refer related companies between them.

"The agreement centres on a referral mechanism which will enable the authorities to refer businesses between their respective innovation functions," the DFSA said on Wednesday. The agreement "sets out a process to share and use information on [FinTech] innovation in our respective markets".

The DFSA is the regulator of the emirate's Dubai International Financial Centre free zone, while MAS is Singapore's financial services regulator.

Under the agreement, both authorities can work on joint projects exploring possible applications of new technologies such as digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, big data, flexible platforms and other areas, the DFSA said.


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Both party wants to build an environment that develops financial services through emerging technology. Both MAS and the DFSA are members of the recently established Global Financial Innovation Network, which comprises 12 financial regulators and associated organisations from around the world and seeks to share best practice on financial innovation.

In Dubai’s case, the initiative also forms part of the DFSA’s innovation strategy, part of wider UAE government plans to become a hub for innovative business.

"Co-operation between MAS and the DFSA will help create synergies and greater understanding between our two markets and will enable FinTech firms to extend their reach globally," said DFSA chief executive Ian Johnston.

Gulf financial centres in Dubai, Abu Dhabi as well as Bahrain have launched several FinTech programmes to attract venture capital and drive innovation into their economies. In June, Abu Dhabi Global Market, the capital's financial free zone, concluded its third round of applications for its Regulatory Laboratory programme.