Opportunities in the UAE for fintech.

Opportunities in the UAE for fintech.

The first few weeks here in Istanbul have been an absolute pleasure. Working closely with new colleagues at the office and getting operations up and running has gone really well so far. And I look forward to the future business opportunities to come soon.

Since I arrived here in December I have met great people both on a personal and business level, and I have to say you can definitely feel the appetite to grow internationally in the Fintech industry here. The industry seems to be ready for the next step, and we are here to help these companies on all levels needed.

Besides getting settled in and meeting new people all over town, the first two weeks were also a chance for me and the Fintechamps Istanbul office to deep dive into an opportunity we had identified a couple of months ago during multiple introductory meetings with Fintechs all over the world. This question was how the Financial Free zones in the UAE can service and offer Fintechs new opportunities.

Looking into this it became apparent that these zones offer multiple benefits for FinTechs, both in Dubai as well as Abu Dhabi. These opportunities include strong governmental initiatives, as the UAE aims to transform the country into a hub for FinTechs. This support shows in the legislation and taxation benefits and the ease of setting up shop offered in these zones.

Besides these more obvious benefits, the past few weeks Candaş, Çağla and myself dove into some more direct questions/benefits such as; what are the requirements for FinTechs, which markets you can service, the (financial) activities allowed through these zones and the support offered in these Financial Free Zones. The Sandbox initiative offered by the UAE in both the Dubai international Financial Centre (DIFC) as well as the Abu Dhabi global Market (ADGM), we believe to be especially interesting for FinTechs. Here, they aim to support innovation in the financial services and market through offering Innovation Test Licenses (ITL) which enables holders of these licenses to test new and innovative financial products, services and business models.

In the sandbox stage, Fintechs can expect to receive support on;

  • Creating new policy regimes and adapting existing frameworks to accommodate new or evolving business models and their risks;

  • Proactively engaging with the market and relevant participants, stakeholders and the broader community;

  • Engaging with innovative start-ups in the DIFC Hive programmes; and:

  • Working with international organizations, particularly through the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), of which the regulatory body in the DIFC, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), is a founding member.

So, how does a company become eligible for such an ITL? Well, here are just some of the requirements for such a license. 

  • The company must involve innovation, by offering a new type of product or service or applying innovative technology to an existing product or service;
  • The applicant must be ready to start live-testing of its business with customers; and
  • The applicant must intend to roll-out its business on a broader scale in or from the DIFC once it has successfully completed testing;
  • The applicant must ensure that they have knowledge and understanding of the relevant DFSA and DIFC rules and regulations

So, we believe that these financial free zones can offer great opportunities to the right companies and if applied correctly, the Sand-box initiatives represent the bright future for fintechs in the UAE. and the possibility of it becoming an established FinTech hub. Would you like to know more about the application process and the opportunities for your company in said zones?

For more in-depth information about our expansion and services feel free to reach out!

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