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Singapore and Dubai to collaborate on fintech

Financial regulators in Singapore and Dubai have signed an agreement to work more closely together on fintech, including a mechanism which will allow each authority to refer innovative businesses to the other.31 Aug 2018

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) will also work on joint innovation projects as part of the agreement. They will collaborate on technologies including digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, 'big data' and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).

In a joint statement, the authorities said that the agreement reflected their dual commitment to support innovative financial technologies, as well as to manage risks better, reduce costs and increase efficiency.

"The rising fintech boom in the Middle East creates new opportunities for the region and beyond," said Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at MAS. "Through this fintech cooperation with DFSA, we look forward to closer interactions between our markets, and for fintech firms in Singapore to capture these new opportunities and grow the fintech landscape."

DFSA chief executive Ian Johnston added that closer cooperation between the two authorities would "help create synergies and greater understanding between our two markets and will enable fintech firms to extend their reach globally".

The regulators already cooperate closely on supervision of banking, insurance and capital markets activity, having signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in 2008. The MOU also governs exchanges of information between the two authorities for supervisory purposes.

The new agreement is the latest initiative designed to enable closer cross-border cooperation on fintech between financial regulators. Both MAS and DFSA are founder members of the new Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), along with the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and regulators from Australia, the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Guernsey.

The GFIN will ultimately enable cross-border trials of innovative fintech solutions in a 'light touch' controlled regulatory environment, similar to the 'regulatory sandbox' schemes established by the FCA and others. A consultation on the proposed functions of the GFIN began earlier this month.

"There are clear leaders emerging for fintech-friendly jurisdictions and this further cements the reputations of both countries as being welcoming for fintech propositions," said technology law expert Bryan Tan of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com.

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