by Hatem Mohamed ABU DHABI, 16th September, 2018 (WAM) — Abu Dhabi Global Market, ADGM, considers it essential to develop alternative financing solutions to bridge the commercial funding gap in the UAE and the Middle East and North Africa Region, Richard Teng, the Chief Executive Officer of Financial Services Regulatory Authority at ADGM.
Speaking to the Emirates News Agency, WAM, on the ADGM FinTech Abu Dhabi Bootcamp Day today, Teng ruled out assumptions that FinTech is restricted to financial companies, affirming it is rather for the higher good of the economy in general.
FinTech Abu Dhabi Bootcamp is the precursor to the FinTech Abu Dhabi Summit, which takes place tomorrow under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr, Abu Dhabi.
“ADGM is the first in the region to deep-dive into building FinTech ecosystem since March 2016. When we first started, many in the region have not even heard of FinTech and were sceptical of our efforts,” Teng said.
“Therefore you will find Abu Dhabi has already been voted as the top FinTech Hub for the MENA region in the latest Global FinTech Hubs Review, “A Tale of 44 Cities”, by Deloitte in partnership with the Global FinTech Hubs Federation. This special FinTech Hubs review was released at the 2017 Innovate Finance Global Summit in London last year.
“Today our Regulatory Laboratory is the 2nd most active FinTech sandbox globally and the most successful regulatory sandbox in the region that enables FinTech players to work closely with real institutions.”
Teng cited ADGM-Etihad Airways partnership as evidence that FinTech can never be restricted to financial companies.
“We signed a partnership agreement with Etihad Airways that sees the airline become the Official Airline Partner of ADGM. The agreement harnesses the roles of both entities as ambassadors of Abu Dhabi and key players in delivering on Abu Dhabi’s vision as a world-leading business, tourism, and cultural destination. The partnership establishes in-depth cooperation in commercial development and destination marketing that will drive business for both organisations, as well as providing ADGM members with privileged access to Etihad Airways and its partner airlines, including unique benefits across the combined network.”
On the role played by ADGM in stimulating SMS, Teng said “ADGM plays an important role in improving access to financial services and developing financing ecosystems for start-ups and SMEs seeking to launch and grow their businesses, as well as spurring innovation and enhancing competitiveness across all economic sectors.
He underlined the paramount importance ADGM is attaching to innovation, “Innovation influences and shapes our service offerings and regulatory framework. As an ecosystem developer, we aim to support Abu Dhabi’s leading position as the FinTech hub for the MENA region.”
“Having a vibrant technology cluster is vital for the creation of a strong innovation ecosystem. Besides catering to FinTechs, ADGM has a tailored commercial licensing regime for tech start-ups.”
Addressing the inaugural session earlier, Teng announced the launch of MENA FinTech Association, an industry-led not-for-profit body to champion the interest of the FinTech community, explaining that ADGM will be on the board of advisors.
ADGM today hosted its first-ever Bootcamp Day as part of the annual Fintech Abu Dhabi 2018. The event was held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, for the second consecutive year.
Around 300 participants attended the day-long Bootcamp, launched exclusively for FinTech start-ups, which saw university students, banking institutions, global accelerators, investors and potential customers come together to network and absorb a variety of strategic topics relevant to their growth journey, from ‘Legal 101 for Start-ups’ to ‘FinTech Investing.’ The Bootcamp participants were also able to interact with ADGM Reglab Firms, and of which, 10 out of 26 firms are showcasing their cutting-edge solutions to re-imagine how firms trade cross-border, receive credit, and make payments in both conventional and Islamic finance. Their solutions aim to address the real needs of the SME sector and the economy. Under the support of ADGM Reglab, the start-ups are now live-testing their solutions with clients under regulatory supervision.