Fintech specialists courted by Abu Dhabi Global Market

Abu Dhabi Global Market, the UAE’s new free zone, is encouraging financial technology experts to set up in its Al Maryah Island base by offering them a specially designed regulatory framework.

The new proposal, involving a “regulatory laboratory” structure for fintech innovators, is contained in a consultative ­paper published by ADGM seeking feedback from participants in the new boom sector.

Fintech – the application of new technology to complex financial structures – is one of the fastest growing areas of banking and investment. ADGM has committed itself to becoming a centre of fintech excellence in the Middle East.

Instead of being subject to the full regulatory regime on ADGM, fintech companies will be able to use a lighter “RegLab” framework for up to two years to incubate their products.

After that time, those who have demonstrated viable business models will transfer to full regulation. Those that are not ready will exit the RegLab structure.

“By providing fintech participants the certainty of obtain­ing relevant regulatory approvals on a stable platform where they can test or deploy new technologies, the RegLab draws on a holistic approach to support Abu Dhabi’s vision of developing an innovative financial services sector that is underpinned by robust regulatory principles,” said Ahmed Al Sayegh, the chairman of ADGM.

“Together with our partners and key stakeholders, ADGM aims to develop an environment that harnesses fintech’s potential to increase efficiency, widen consumer choice and facil­itate better risk management in the financial services industry,” he added.

The proposal was welcomed by Ramesh Jagannathan, vice provost of entrepreneurship development at New York University Abu Dhabi.

“Fintech in the region has tremendous potential and now Abu Dhabi is clearly a leader in providing an easier path forward for new companies. We look forward to working with ADGM in addition to these new fintech companies,” he said.

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