Hong Kong and Dubai in fintech innovation pact

Regulators strike up strategic partnership for boosting innovation and data sharing in financial technology sector

Prominent regulators in Hong Kong and Dubai have teamed up to mutually hone the innovative reflexes of their local fintech industries.

The bilateral effort was triggered in a 28 August cooperation agreement between the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

In the partnership, the organisations will pool their resources on a range of ventures – such as innovation projects, information sharing and creating a referrals process for innovative firms seeking to enter each other’s markets.

For the SFC, the agreement forms an extension of its Fintech Contact Point initiative.

Launched in March 2016, that scheme was designed to:

  1. enhance communication with firms involved in the development and application of fintech in Hong Kong;
  2. facilitate the fintech community’s understanding of the current, local regulatory regime for the sector; and
  3. enable the SFC to stay abreast of trends in the industry’s development.

For the DFSA, the agreement marks the latest phase of its roadmap towards building an innovation framework in Middle Eastern economic hub the Dubai International Financial Centre.

It also complements the 1 August introduction of a regulatory framework for investment crowdfunding platforms in Dubai – a first for the Gulf Cooperation Council.

That followed the regulator’s 24 May launch of an Innovation Testing Licence for fintech firms: a regulatory sandbox system, the like of which has been implemented in the UK and several other territories.

DFSA CEO Ian Johnston said: “Providing a regime that fosters innovation in the Dubai International Financial Centre is a strategic priority for us.

“This agreement with Hong Kong’s SFC deepens cooperation between our two markets and will build a common understanding of the principles of good innovation.”

His counterpart, SFC leader Ashley Alder, added: “This agreement underscores the SFC’s efforts to strengthen regulatory collaboration and promote innovation in financial services.

“We look forward to working closely with the DFSA to support fintech development in both our markets.”

Find the full text of the SFC and DFCA agreement here.

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