Dubai and Hong Kong in fintech deal

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the  Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, meeting yesterday in Hong Kong, signalled their intention to work together to develop their fintech industries.

Representatives from the two organisations signed an agreement that will see them pool their resources, as they look to encourage the greater use of technology in financial services.

Signing the document, as pictured above, were DFSA chief executive Ian Johnston (left) and Hong Kong SFC chief executive Ashley Alder (right in the photograph).

The DFSA is the financial regulatory agency of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the special economic zone located in Dubai. It regulates only those companies located within the special economic zone, and aims to provide a regulatory environment comparable to and able to interact with those of other key financial services jurisdictions.

Under the agreement, the authorities are committed to sharing information on developments and innovations in the area of fintech in their respective markets.

The agreement is also designed to encourage both regulators to refer innovative firms to one another’s markets, and to provide them with regulatory guidance, according to a statement released after the signing.

“Providing a regime that fosters innovation in the Dubai International Financial Centre is a strategic priority for us,” Johnston said in remarks included in the post-signing statement.

“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.”

The signing of the agreement yesterday comes as financial services jurisdictions around the world race to establish dominance in the rapidly-growing fintech sector. Both Dubai and Hong Kong have been active players in this game up until now, with the DFSA having earlier this year announced a new “lighter touch” financial services licence for fintech firms, to enable them to temporarily operate in the DIFC with less strict regulatory requirements.

Earlier this month the DFSA introduced regulations formalising a tailored regime for crowdfunding platforms that it said were intended to enhance the efficiency of markets and provide better services and solutions.

For its part, the SFC established what it called its “Fintech Contact Point” in March, to help companies to gain a better understanding of local regulations that apply to fintech businesses.

The SFC has also previously signed agreements similar to the one signed yesterday with the DFSA with the Australian and British financial regulators.

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