Bahrain agreement aims to boost fintech

Out-Law News | 30 Mar 2017 | 2:34 pm | 1 min. read

The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) plans to create a support system to boost financial technology, or fintech, businesses in the GCC region.

The EDB has signed an agreement with the Singapore Fintech Consortium and Dubai-based asset management firm Trucial Investment Partners to develop a fintech-friendly environment and regulatory framework, it said.

The agreement will allow increased interaction between fintech firms in the Middle East via Bahrain and those in ASEAN via Singapore and will help Singaporean companies to work in the Kingdom, the EDB said.

Bahrain hopes to turn into the region's fintech "powerhouse", with plans for a business incubator and accelerator programme and fintech-focused venture capital, the EDB said.

Khalid Al Rumaihi, EDB’s chief executive said: "Singapore has been an excellent model of fintech development and we can now benefit from SFC’s expertise as we develop our own hub. We are very excited about the opportunities that fintech presents in the region and in Bahrain. Yet we know that to realise these opportunities it is vital to get the right ecosystem in place. This partnership will play an important role in helping us to do that."

Singapore and Abu Dhabi also announced collaboration plans this month. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) agreed to cooperate on developments and initiatives that nurture financial technology, or fintech, entrepreneurship and support innovation in financial services in both countries.

A cooperation agreement was signed setting out how the regulators will help startups and innovators to understand the regulatory regime in each jurisdiction, and how they will provide support throughout the application and authorisation process, the organisations said.

MAS launched a fintech sandbox in June 2016 to allow businesses to experiment with fintech products, shortly after the announcement of a 'fintech bridge' between Singapore and the UK allowing the sharing and use of information on "financial services innovation" by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Singapore's Monetary Authority (MAS).

MAS issued guidelines on the service in November 2016, based on submissions to a public consultation and feedback from initial users of the service, and launched a grant scheme to fund half the costs of Singapore-based fintech trials.