ASIC expands its fintech cooperation to the Middle East

Elizabeth Barry 27 July 2017 NEWS

abu dhabi fintech

The regulator has signed a fintech cooperation agreement with Abu Dhabi.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced its latest cooperation agreement, signing onto a framework of understanding and cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).

While ASIC has already signed seven fintech cooperation agreements, including with the UK, Japan and Malaysia, Abu Dhabi will be the first signatory from the Middle East region. According to ASIC's statement, the region is dynamic and has "huge potential".

"The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is currently poised for a fintech boom, with several cities taking steps to establish themselves as fintech hubs," the statement said. "To date, most fintech activity has occurred in the payments space, with startups offering services including bill payment, electronic wallets and mobile and online payment solutions."

Fintech cooperation agreements provide a framework for cooperation between the two countries and regulators and allow for an understanding of financial innovation in each jurisdiction.

ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft said that fintech agreements are not confined by national borders and that this agreement will help to connect fintech businesses to opportunities in the Middle East.

"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."

The chief executive officer of ADGM FSRA has said that they are pleased to partner with ASIC and foster an inclusive international fintech hub.

"With this fintech collaboration, ADGM and ASIC are able to tap into the strengths and networks 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."

Fostering international ties through fintech agreements appears to be a key avenue through which ASIC is driving digital disruption and financial innovation, which it named as a priority in its corporate plan.

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