DFSA ex­pands Fin­tech in­no­va­tion test­ing pro­gramme

The Gulf Today - Business - - UAE -

DUBAI: The Dubai Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Author­ity (DFSA) has an­nounced the ex­pan­sion of its In­no­va­tion Test­ing Li­cence (ITL) pro­gramme in re­sponse to con­tin­ued in­ter­est in Fin­tech and the dig­i­tal econ­omy.

The ITL pro­gramme en­ables irms to test in­no­va­tions in inan­cial tech­nol­ogy, Fin­tech, in or from the Dubai In­ter­na­tional Fi­nan­cial Cen­tre, DIFC.

Six com­pa­nies will form a new Co­hort (Co­hort 1) that will to­day be­gin the ITL ap­pli­ca­tion process, which in­cludes the de­vel­op­ment of a reg­u­la­tory test plan de­scrib­ing the proposed busi­ness model, prod­uct or ser­vice. Over the next few weeks, the DFSA will work with the ap­pli­cants to nav­i­gate the on­board­ing process. If the irms are suc­cess­ful, they will be­gin a test­ing pe­riod last­ing up to 12 months, at the end of which the irms must demon­strate that they have met the agreed targets of the test plan, and can meet the full DFSA au­tho­ri­sa­tion re­quire­ments, to ob­tain a full li­cence.

The ITL was in­tro­duced by the DFSA in May 2017, as part of its strat­egy to fos­ter an in­no­va­tion-friendly ecosys­tem in the DIFC. The re­stricted inan­cial ser­vices li­cence al­lows qual­i­fy­ing Fin­tech irms to de­velop and test in­no­va­tive con­cepts from within the DIFC, with­out be­ing sub­ject to the full reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments that nor­mally ap­ply to reg­u­lated irms.

Bryan Stire­walt, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Su­per­vi­sion at the DFSA, said, “Since in­tro­duc­ing the ITL in May last year, we have been im­pressed with the vol­ume of ap­pli­ca­tions from irms want­ing to test from the DIFC. This is clearly in­dica­tive of the value they place on the es­tab­lished ecosys­tem avail­able to them here. Although a num­ber of irms have al­ready been granted an ITL, in or­der to pro­vide the nec­es­sary sup­port to these ap­pli­cants, we have in­tro­duced the Co­hort ap­proach to re­view­ing ap­pli­ca­tions and be­lieve this will pro­vide the best out­come for irms with hopes of con­tribut­ing to the Dubai and UAE econ­omy.”

The irms mak­ing up Co­hort 1 il­lus­trate the di­ver­sity of in­no­va­tions in the Fin­tech ield and the global in­ter­est to test these in­no­va­tions from the DIFC.

Co­hort 2 ap­pli­ca­tions will open in Septem­ber to co­in­cide with the sec­ond edi­tion of the DIFC’S Fin- Tech HIVE@DIFC ac­cel­er­a­tor pro­gramme. The 12-week pro­gramme, which was an­nounced in Jan­uary 2017, went live in Au­gust in part­ner­ship with Ac­cen­ture, a lead­ing global pro­fes­sional ser­vices com­pany. It is de­signed to bridge the gap be­tween in­no­va­tive tech en­trepreneurs and inan­cial in­dus­try giants while pro­vid­ing a plat­form that en­ables the de­vel­op­ment of cut­ting-edge in­no­va­tion in line with the Dubai Plan 2021 and the DIFC’S 2024 Strat­egy.

This lat­est de­vel­op­ment forms part of the DFSA’S in­no­va­tion strat­egy, which com­ple­ments the Na­tional In­no­va­tion Strat­egy, as set out by His High­ness Sheikh Mo­hammed bin Rashid Al Mak­toum, Vice Pres­i­dent, Prime Min­is­ter and Ruler of Dubai, to make the UAE a global hub for in­no­va­tion. In line with the goals of the Dubai 2021 strat­egy, the DFSA also for­malised its ap­proach to crowd­fund­ing loan and in­vest­ment plat­forms in 2017, mak­ing it the irst to in­tro­duce a be­spoke frame­work in the GCC. Specif­i­cally, loan crowd­fund­ing has be­come a valu­able source of fi­nanc­ing for SMES in sev­eral ju­ris­dic­tions.

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