UBF, ADGM host joint event on FinTech and Crypto Assets to address increasingly complex digital environment

ABU DHABI, 17th March, 2019 (WAM) — UAE Banks Federation (UBF) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) hosted a joint forum on FinTech and crypto assets, bringing together industry specialists to discuss how these compelling trends are shaping the global financial services sector, and the challenges and opportunities they present. The event, held in ADGM in coordination with UBF Compliance Committee, discussed topics ranging from ADGM’s regulations and supervisory approach to digital and crypto assets, harnessing RegTech such as big data and machine learning that can enhance the surveillance and management of financial transactions, to how financial regulators and banks can collaborate to develop processes and procedures to address regulatory risks in serving market participants operating crypto assets businesses.

In light of technology innovation such as cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, the financial services sector is undergoing a dramatic transformation unlike any other industry. These fast-evolving market dynamics mean that banks, financial institutions as well as financial regulators have an important part to play to diligently monitor and keep abreast of such developments, and ensure financial services continue to operate in a robust and trusted way in an increasingly digital environment.

AbdulAziz Al-Ghurair, Chairman of UAE Banks Federation, said: “UBF is a strong advocate of the innovation that is disrupting the UAE financial services industry. We strongly believe in the importance of collaboration to facilitate this transformation and ensure it takes place seamlessly and successfully. Given the rapid emergence of new FinTech such as cryptocurrencies and other crypto assets, it is essential that we develop frameworks and regulations that govern these technologies and developments.

“With aspirations to become one of the foremost international hubs for finance, we must keep up with the rapid technological changes taking place across the sector. Ensuring a robust monetary and financial market environment is critical to this, and can only be achieved by protecting consumer rights and safeguarding market integrity. The session was an important stepping-stone toward this, and we will continue to work closely with ADGM to address and discuss these significant themes that have a widespread impact across the sector.”

Richard Teng, CEO of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM, said: “We are pleased to partner UBF in this forum and create an opportunity to discuss the outlook and challenges presented by the changing dynamics of the banking industry. This event highlighted the importance and power of collaboration between regulatory authorities and financial institutions in building the trust and commitment needed to introduce FinTech activities securely into the financial services sector.

The forum has enabled sharing of knowledge and gave our participants a first-hand understanding of the internal workings of FSRA in supervising FinTech and crypto asset-related activities. In addition, how the ADGM FSRA team has been supporting the digital transformation and adoption of financial innovation in Abu Dhabi and across the UAE financial services sector. Over the past years, financial institutions across the UAE have put in tremendous efforts to build and sustain the financial services ecosystem, and we will continue to pursue these endeavors together in the future.”

In the opening presentations, ADGM shared its policy objectives and key features underpinning its crypto asset regulatory framework — one of the world’s first comprehensive framework launched in June 2018 for operators of crypto asset businesses including exchanges, custodians and brokers — as well as surveillance tools in the market to mitigate the risks of financial crime in crypto asset transactions.

Among the guest speakers who presented at the event, Shu Pui Li, Advisor – Banking Operations to the Governor’s Office from the Central Bank of the UAE, also shared his insights on building a sustainable FinTech ecosystem for the UAE.

The session concluded with a presentation by Hanan Mansour, Chairperson of UBF Compliance Committee & Head of Regulatory Compliance at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), which discussed the importance of cooperation and information sharing in relation to the technological advances to better manage the associated risks emerging in the banking sector.

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