The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has announced the start of the design of a sandbox regulatory environment that allows local and international financial technology firms to test new digital solutions as the kingdom pushes for economic transformation.
The move follows similar initiatives by other regulators in the GCC and aims to help the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority understand and assess the impact of new technologies on the financial services market.
"Saudi has one of highest outflows of remittances in the region. Hence working on innovative ideas for cross border transfers, domestic payments, peer-to-peer lending for SMEs and other fintech ideas is a priority," Mohamed Roushdy, head of technology at Dubai Asset Management, told Zawya .
“Saudi has one of highest outflows of remittances in the region. Hence working on innovative ideas for cross border transfers, domestic payments, peer-to-peer lending for SMEs and other fintech ideas is a priority”
"Sandbox could play a great role in getting those ideas to the market with the support of banks, which will be part of the sandbox next to fintechs," he added.
Sama plans to transform the initiative into an "intelligent financial centre" that allows local and international companies to test digital solutions they intend to launch in the kingdom, the regulator said in a statement.
The list of permitted fintechs so far is comprised of Geidea, Bayan Payments Company Limited, HalalaH, Saudi Digital Payments Company (STC Pay), Saudi Post, Brightware, and Tap Payments, according to SAMA.
The sandbox environment will be linked to the kingdom's Vision 2030, an overarching road map that aims to overhaul and diversify the country's economy away from oil. The Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP), geared to transform and diversify the financial sector, and support national economy through financing and investment initiatives for private sector, are among the key pillars of Vision 2030.
Société Générale and several other banks are already eyeing opportunities that this economic transformation might bring.