Abu Dhabi is the next FinTech hub in the making

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Abu Dhabi is the next FinTech hub in the making
Richard Teng and Saeed Amidi sign the MoU to establish a FinTech Innovation Centre in Abu Dhabi on Monday. Also seen are (from top left) Saif Al Mohammed Al Hajeri, chairman of the Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi, and Ahmed Al Sayegh.

abu dhabi - ADGM to establish a FinTech Innovation Centre and FinTech Association

By Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 23 Oct 2017, 6:57 PM

Last updated: Mon 23 Oct 2017, 9:01 PM

The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has announced the establishment of a FinTech Innovation Centre and FinTech Association to make the emirate a hub for innovation and technology as well as to attract startups and talent from around the world.

Announced at the FinTech Abu Dhabi Summit on Monday, the financial centre has tied up with Plug and Play - the world's largest startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley - to support greater financial innovation, cultivate FinTech talent, foster closer industry collaboration and facilitate more cross-border investment opportunities to bolster the development of financial services in Abu Dhabi and the region.

The ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre will be operational in the first half of 2018 where startups will interact with financial institutions, investors and potential partners. It will offer facilities for networking and events.

The centre will also be home to participants of the Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) to allow companies to test FinTech products in collaboration with the regulator.

"The ADGM FinTech Innovation Centre will be a physical hub where FinTech communities can come together to create a collaborative eco-system," said Ahmed Al Sayegh, chairman of ADGM.

He said the centre would feature a global startup acceleration programme to attract and nurture FinTech firms from all over the world to develop and deploy innovation solutions ranging from artificial intelligence, blockchain, biometrics, e-payments and RegTech to serve financial industries.

"We will have a foot in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the next 12 months," said Saeed Amidi, CEO of Plug and Play.

Al Sayegh said the ADGM is working with industry practitioners to also set up a Fintech Association that would become a voice of the financial sector.

"By establishing this association, we can give you and your colleagues a voice not just in Abu Dhabi but also all over the UAE. We have a role to play in the international global FinTech stage, but we can't play this role without your support," he told industry delegates at the conference.

The ADGM has also tied up with the Securities and Commodities Authority to exchange information on FinTech-related issues. In addition, it has tied up with local firms to take the FinTech industry to the next stage of growth.

Earlier this year, the ADGM created a venture capital fund framework to invest in FinTech and the SME sector. In addition, it has tied up with local universities to attract talent.

Al Sayegh pointed out that the ADGM is working with regulators in the region to help FinTech startups expand with ease.

The Plug and Play CEO said the tie-up with ADGM would result in a FinTech innovation platform similar to what Singapore has done in Southeast Asia.

"We can have great companies from the US, Europe, India and Pakistan as 80 per cent of FinTech startup firms are imported under the RegLabs. There is a lot of money in the region that is tired of bonds and fixed income. With startups seeing quick success and great returns, we can energise the UAE and region to embrace technology entrepreneurship," Amidi added.

- waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com

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