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Abu Dhabi Regulator Signs FinTech Pact with Singapore’s Central Bank

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:55 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:55 PM

Editor’s Note: The headline and article have been updated to reflect that the Fintech agreement was signed between Singapore and Abu Dhabi, not Dubai as reported erronously earlier.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) have signed a cooperation agreement to develop and nurture Fintech innovations and entrepreneurs in both countries.

Announced yesterday by Singapore’s central bank, the partnership with the ADGM, an international financial center that houses Abu Dhabi’s financial regulator, represents a cooperative pact between two notable regulatory authorities. Abu Dhabi is certain to benefit from the agreement with Singapore, the latter arguably established as Asia’s and one of the world’s leading Fintech hubs.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Fintech chief at MAS signs with Richard Teng, head of Abu Dhabi’s financial regulator.

In a statement, Richard Teng, the chief of Abu Dhabi’s financial services regulator stated:

We are delighted to embark on this partnership with MAS, a leading global Fintech Hub, to advance innovation and the use of technology to promote growth in the financial sector and protect the best interests of investors in our jurisdictions.

A Singaporean national, Teng was previously the director of corporate finance at the MAS and the regulatory chief at Singapore’s bourse before taking the role of the chief executive at Abu Dhabi’s financial services regulatory authority (FSRA).

Blockchain and Digital Payments to Get a Boost

More specifically, the cooperative agreement will see the two regulators establish a strategic framework to aid startups and innovators with the regulatory regimes in each country, helping them through the application and authorization process.

Notably, the two authorities will also collaborate on projects that explore the possibility of technologies such as blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital and mobile payments, big data and more.

The Abu Dhabi Global Market Square

Teng further underlined the potential for financial technology in Asia and the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) area by pointing to a significantly underserved financial sector in both regions.

MAS’ FinTech chief Sopnendu Mohanty claimed the new cooperative pact will push toward “fostering synergies in promoting innovation and developing capabilities through international co-operation” between the regulators.

He further stated:

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.

Signing up with Singapore

Singapore’s prominence as a global economic & FinTech hub due to its geographical proximity as proverbial door to Asia and its traditionally technology-forward agenda sees a number of neighboring countries inking Fintech pacts with the island nation.

The southern Indian government of Andhra Pradesh signed a Fintech agreement similar to that of Abu Dhabi, that will focus on joint innovation projects on technologies including blockchain and digital payments. Signed in October 2016, the partnership will also see the MAS develop Fintech-based curriculum developed as educational programs in the Indian state.

Soon after, Singapore and South Korea agreed on a Fintech pact between regulators.

Singapore’s central bank is notably the first in the world to have developed a blockchain inter-banking payments platform to facilitate payments on a global scale. First revealed in November last year, the proof-of-concept project, developed in partnership with New York-based blockchain startup R3, aims to eventually enable banks to transact over borders at any hour with instant transfers, without the need for a central overseeing authority.

Images from ADGM.