Singapore and Abu Dhabi to collaborate on fintech development

Out-Law News | 09 Mar 2017 | 11:15 am | 1 min. read

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

MAS and the ADGM "share the same objective to develop robust fintech ecosystems that support the needs of the financial industry and promote innovation in their respective markets, the two bodies said in a joint statement.

The partnership came about after exchanges between the fintech teams of MAS and the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM.

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 and ADGM will also "undertake and explore joint innovation projects on the application of key technologies including digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, big data, flexible platforms and other new technologies", they said.

Technology law expert Bryan Tan of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture partner of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind said: "The issue of regulatory comity is important to fintechs as they are typically leaner on regulatory resource and the last thing they would want is to have to navigate across different regulatory environments at every turn. On the regulator’s end, it makes sense that regulators share experiences and avoid having to reinvent the wheel in every instance."

Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at MAS said, "The cooperation that is forged with ADGM marks another step towards strengthening links between regulators, and fostering synergies in promoting innovation and developing capabilities through international co-operation. 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."

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.