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17-251MR Abu Dhabi and Australia seal agreement on fintech cooperation
The Abu Dhabi Global Market ('ADGM') Financial Services Regulatory Authority ('FSRA') and ASIC today signed a Cooperation Agreement which provides a framework for cooperation to support and understand financial innovation in each jurisdiction.
This Agreement expands ASIC's fintech cooperation network to a dynamic region with enormous potential. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are currently poised for a fintech boom, with several cities taking steps to establish themselves as fintech hubs. To date, most fintech activity has occurred in the payments space, with startups offering services including bill payment, electronic wallets, mobile and online payment solutions.
The United Arab Emirates (where the ADGM is located) is Australia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, with two-way goods and services trade worth $8.8 billion in 2015.
Similar to the other fintech cooperation agreements ASIC has entered into, this Agreement will enable the FSRA and ASIC to refer innovative fintech businesses to each other for advice and support via ASIC's Innovation Hub and its ADGM equivalent, the Regulatory Laboratory known as 'RegLab'.
The Agreement also provides a framework for information sharing between the two regulators. This will enable ASIC to keep abreast of regulatory and relevant economic or commercial developments in the ADGM and to use this to inform Australia's regulatory approach.
The Innovation Hub and RegLab offer assistance to innovative fintech businesses to understand the regulatory regimes in each of their jurisdictions. This Agreement means Australian fintech businesses wishing to operate in the ADGM will now have a simple pathway for engaging with FSRA, and vice versa.
Signing the Agreement, ASIC Chairman Greg Medcraft said, 'Fintech developments are not confined by national borders. Each country and region has a different experience with fintech, and there is much we can learn from engaging with one another. This Agreement will help to connect Australian fintech businesses with a range of exciting opportunities in a region ripe for further development.'
Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer of ADGM FSRA said, ‘We are pleased to partner ASIC and share the common interest in fostering an inclusive international fintech hub that supports innovation in a safe regulatory environment. In MENA, the opportunities and potential for fintech to advance financial inclusion, economic benefits and growth are enormous. With this fintech collaboration, ADGM and ASIC are able to tap on the strengths and network of each other’s markets to support technology startups and innovators in advancing their creative solutions into new markets. I look forward to our partnership with ASIC and other global authorities to advocate robust financial integration and regulatory collaboration.’
This is the seventh fintech referral agreement ASIC has entered into, following on from agreements with the United Kingdom, Singapore, Ontario, Hong Kong, Japan and Malaysia.
ASIC is focused on the vital role that fintechs are playing in re-fashioning financial services and capital markets. In addition to developing guidance about how these new developments fit into our regulatory framework, in 2015, ASIC launched its Innovation Hub to help fintechs navigate the regulatory framework without compromising investor and financial consumer trust and confidence.
The Innovation Hub provides the opportunity for entrepreneurs to understand how regulation might impact on them. It is also helping ASIC to monitor and understand fintech developments. ASIC collaborates closely with other regulators to understand developments, and to help entrepreneurs expand their target markets into other jurisdictions.
To date, fintech referral and information-sharing agreements have been entered with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority, Ontario Securities Commission, Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, the Japan Financial Services Agency and Malaysia Securities Commission. In addition, information-sharing agreements have been entered with the Capital Markets Authority, Kenya and Otoritas Jasa Keuangan, Indonesia.
The ADGM is a business-friendly international financial centre for local, regional and international institutions. It centres around three key sectors: private banking, wealth management and asset management.