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FinTech & Digital Transformation

We are working tirelessly to sustain an advanced, modern, future-ready financial system across the UAE.

FinTech Office Overview and Mission:

Launched by The Central Bank of the UAE in 2020, the FinTech Office aims to build a mature FinTech ecosystem in the UAE and position the UAE as the foremost FinTech hub regionally and globally. It works with key stakeholders to develop a FinTech ecosystem with five pillars: 1) Demand, 2) Capital, 3) Policy, 4) Talent, and 5) Infrastructure. The FinTech office has launched initiatives targeting each of the five pillars for which a range of initiatives are underway currently.

FinTech Strategy

The FinTech Office is mandated to implement the UAE’s FinTech strategy which is centred on innovation and collaboration. The FinTech Office will achieve this by working with industry and regulatory authorities to ensure a central role for innovation and digital transformation and the promotion of a culture of robust risk management. This commitment is backed by two key elements: effective and balanced regulations, and robust digital infrastructure. These form a solid foundation for the five core strategic focus areas that will engender continued FinTech innovation and development in the UAE.

Our FinTech Office follows five strategic focus areas that form the building blocks for a strong and sustainable FinTech industry in the UAE. The FinTech Office plays a key role in these focus areas:
  • Regulatory interface

    This interface between market participants and regulators within the CBUAE includes a regulatory sandbox, innovation hub, regional dialogue and industry surveys.

  • Talent development

    A facilitator to nurture talent to meet the growing needs of the FinTech sector — achieved through a talent development programme and career accelerator scheme.

  • National and cross-border collaboration

    The FinTech office maintains partnerships with key onshore and cross-border stakeholders through co-operative agreements, cross-border projects, international committees, taking part in the Global Financial Innovation Network and similar activities.

  • Co-ordination and liaison

    The FinTech office represents a platform to promote the exchange of ideas on innovative FinTech initiatives with key stakeholders. This includes committees that allow major stakeholders to meet and discuss ideas, and events and accelerators aimed at overcoming FinTech challenges jointly.

  • Research and application

    An initiator of industry research into the potential application and risks of FinTech solutions, this aspect includes cyber-security, distributed ledger technology (“blockchain”), trade finance, e-payment, artificial intelligence, and know-your-customer services.

Our FinTech Office works with industry stakeholders and other regulatory authorities in the UAE to maintain a progressive and secure FinTech sector. By achieving this, the UAE continues to attract international and regional FinTech companies, providing them with a platform where all market participants can collaborate and innovate together.
  • ADGM

  • DIFC

  • HKMA

  • Global Finance Innovation Network (GFIN)

  • BIS innovation Hub (Project mBridge)

FinTech Regulatory Development

Guidelines for Financial Institutions adopting Enabling Technologies

CBUAE, with the SCA, DFSA, FSRA (collectively referred to as “Supervisory Authorities”), issued “Guidelines for Financial Institutions adopting Enabling Technologies” (“the Guidelines”). Their purpose is to provide a set of principles when using enabling technologies in financial services and accompanying guidance. The key principles are broad enough to cater to different business models, operating systems and financial services offered by existing organisations operating in, and new entrants to, the financial services sector. The key principles are accompanied by more detailed guidance for institutions to consider when using enabling technologies.

Sandbox initiatives

The CBUAE has developed regulations to introduce a co-sandboxing arrangement, which provides harmonised regulatory requirements and procedures for entities looking to launch a FinTech solution in both onshore and financial free zones.

Central Bank Digital Currency

The FinTech Office at the CBUAE is researching the impact of new technologies on the financial sector. One of the major development areas in this field involves central bank digital currencies (CBDC). The CBUAE was involved in two major projects with other international central banks and entities, which reflect its goal of understanding better how technology is shaping the financial industry.

Project ABER

Launched in 2018 to explore and evaluate the capabilities and challenges surrounding distributed ledger technology (DLT – also known as “blockchain”).

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mBridge

The CBUAE together with the Bank for International Settlements, Innovation Hub Centre in Honk Kong, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the Bank of Thailand, and the Digital Currency Institute of the People’s Bank of China have issued the first Multiple CBDC Bridge (mBridge) Project report - a major milestone of international trade payment project, and a step closer to making cross-border trade payments easier, safer and in real-time,

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Other CBDC Projects

Money and payment systems are evolving faster than ever - a result of the rapid development and increased accessibility of technology. Presently, 67 Central Banks around the globe are engaged in CBDC research, proofs of concept and pilot projects. To keep up with these developments, the CBUAE has engaged in CBDC research since 2018. In addition to the wholesale, cross-border CBDC projects ABER and MBridge, the CBUAE is examining different technologies options and implementation models actively for a retail domestic CBDC. This research focusses on selecting the most suitable technology and implementation model for the UAE to maximize the benefits and mitigate potential risks.

Payments and Settlements

Digital Infrastructure Development

A significant digital transformation is in progress at CBUAE, including the financial, monetary and financial services systems within the UAE. To support this, CBUAE has identified a number of focus areas in its digital transformation journey.

CBUAE conducted a series of workshops and research activities on the need for a nationwide platform to automate and streamline the onboarding and ongoing customer due diligence process for all customer segments.
CBUAE has developed its Open Finance vision and roadmap, aiming to implement a robust, efficient, secure and well-controlled environment to facilitate collaboration, inter-operability and data sharing between financial Institutions and authorized Third Party Providers (TPPs).
This initiative aims to facilitate the development and operation of a secure, robust and scalable financial cloud infrastructure to support growth and innovation in the financial sector, and to extend the service and support to the MENA region.
CBUAE is working actively to explore and develop new initiatives to support the UAE economy and financial sector development.

Related Regulations


Press Release

UAE regulatory authorities jointly issue ‘Guidelines for Financial Institutions Adopting Enabling Technologies

15 November 2021


Regulations

Retail Payment Services and Card Schemes

06 June 2021


Regulations

Loan Based Crowdfunding

28 October 2020


Regulations

Stored Value Facilities (SVF) Regulation

30 September 2020

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Last updated on: Thursday 28 July 2022

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