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Abu Dhabi Global Market Named “FinTech Regulator of the Year”

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ADGM Buiding Front

Voted by an Eminent International Panel of Judges at the Leading Seamless Middle East 2018

Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre (IFC) in Abu Dhabi, has been awarded FinTech Regulator of the Year 2018 at the 2018 Seamless Middle East Awards held in Dubai. The Seamless Awards is an annual platform that recognises trail-blazing companies and individuals from the finance, ecommerce and retail industries that have demonstrated unparalleled ability to succeed and continuously set the highest standards of excellence.

ADGM was established with a strategic focus to augment Abu Dhabi’s plans for economic diversification and long-term sustainable growth. Within two years of its operations, ADGM has introduced numerous new and transformational initiatives that advance the innovative and financial agenda of Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Leading ADGM’s FinTech strategy, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of ADGM has implemented innovative programmes and launched successful “first-in-the-MENA-region” regulatory initiatives to support innovators and financial institutions in the region since March 2016. Taking efforts to cement a robust foundation, ADGM developed an authentic, inclusive and dynamic FinTech ecosystem that nurtures FinTech startups and serves as the nexus to growth opportunities in the region. As the pioneer regulatory sandbox in the region, the ADGM Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) is one of the world’s most active sandboxes today, and the most active in the region.

ADGM Buiding Front

ADGM Buiding Front

Mr Richard Teng, Chief Executive Officer, FSRA of ADGM, said: “Within a short span of two years, ADGM has firmly established itself as the financial innovation testbed and champion for the region, and one of the key global FinTech hubs. We like to sincerely thank the industry and the eminent judges of Seamless Awards 2018 for their strong vote of confidence and encouragement.

 

ADGM’s commitment in advancing the FinTech developments fortified its position as the “Top FinTech Hub in MENA” among 44 cities 1. ADGM’s reputed standing and execution track record as a modern policy maker and strategic collaborator has resulted in excellent traction and real benefits to our FinTech firms, local and global partnerships and the industry.”

To help FinTech participants scale with greater access to markets, capital and regulatory recognition, the FSRA has established multiple co-operative agreements and partnerships with regulatory/governmental counterparts in global financial hubs, industry think tanks, business groups and associations, as well as leading local and foreign global financial institutions to facilitate transfer and deployment of FinTech innovation.

ADGM’s innovative and efficient regulatory frameworks firmly support a holistic range of financing platforms for startups and SMEs from angel / venture capital, private equity, to public capital markets. As an IFC and FinTech Hub, ADGM will continue to enhance its environment with progressive, risk-appropriate regulatory policies and frameworks to support FinTech adoption and financial inclusion.

  • The Global FinTech Hubs Review, “A Tale of 44 Cities”, by Deloitte and the Global FinTech Hubs Federation (GFHF).

Milestones & Achievements of ADGM as the MENA FinTech Hub

2016

March 2016: Announced commitment and aspiration to develop Abu Dhabi as the FinTech Hub for the region

June 2016: Partnered New York University Abu Dhabi (in the first of several collaborations with academic institutions) to support local entrepreneurship

 August 2016 : Proposed the FinTech framework for the UAE

 October 2016 : Voted as Financial Centre of the Year (MENA) by the industry & Global Investors magazine

 November 2016: Introduced and launched first-in-the-region regulatory sandbox (the “RegulatoryLaboratory” or “RegLab”) for FinTech innovators and firm

2017

January 2017 : Hosted the global Temenos Innovation Jam

FinTech Award

FinTech Award

 March 2017: Executed FinTech co-operative agreement(“FinTech Bridge”)with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the first among other FinTech Bridges with financial regulators of international financial hubs2

 April 2017: Abu Dhabi and ADGM ranked as Top FinTech Hub in MENA among 44 cities by Deloitte and the Global FinTech Hubs Federation (GFHF).

 May 2017

  • Designed and launched first-in-the-region tailored regulatory framework for VC managers
  • Admitted first batch of 5 ADGM RegLab firms
  • Selected as one of 6 global cities to host the Global Citi Tech for Integrity Challenge

 August 2017 : Launched Global FinTech Abu Dhabi Innovation Challenge and attracted 166 international applications

 October 2017

  • Issued detailed guidance on regulatory approach on ICOs and virtual currencies
  • Voted as Financial Centre of the Year (MENA) for 2nd consecutive year
  • Launched ADGM’s inaugural FinTech Abu Dhabi Summit & Hosted 1st Regional Regulators’ Roundtable
  • Sealed FinTech Bridge with the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority
  • Admitted 16 RegLab firms over 2 cohorts in anniversary year of sandbox programme; the most active sandbox in the region today
  • Announced FinTech Innovation Centre for Abu Dhabi and the wider MENA
  • Partnered Plug & Play to launch FinTech Acceleration programme for the region
  • Partnered Temenos on a digital sandbox for RegLab firms to test prototype solutions on core banking systems
  • As at April 2018, ADGM has established FinTech Bridges with Astana Financial Services Authority, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Canadian Securities Regulators, Autorité des marchés financiers of France, Financial Services Agency of Japan, Capital Markets Authority of Kenya, Malaysian Securities Commission, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Securities and Commodities Authority of UAE.

2018

January 2018 : Signed 1stMENA FinTech Bridge with Bahrain Economic Development Board

 February 2018:

  • Led an industry consortium of financial institutions on developing a Proof of Concept for a shared e-KYC utility
  • Launched 3rd batch of RegLab applications

March 2018: Partnered FinTech Circle Institute to offer FinTech educational courses for the region

April 2018: Awarded FinTech Regulator of 2018 by Seamless Middle East

More initiatives in the pipeline

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears

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Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears 1

By Colin Packham

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.

Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent.

Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.

Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts, in a jolt to the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the titans of the technological revolution.

Talks between Australia and Facebook over the weekend yielded no breakthrough.

As Australia’s senate began debating the legislation, the country’s most senior lawmaker in the upper house said there would be no further amendments.

“The bill as it stands … meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.

The bill in its present form ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.

The laws would give the government the right to appoint an arbitrator to set content licencing fees if private negotiations fail.

While both Google and Facebook have campaigned against the laws, Google last week inked deals with top Australian outlets, including a global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

“There’s no reason Facebook can’t do and achieve what Google already has,” Birmingham added.

A Facebook representative declined to comment on Monday on the legislation, which passed the lower house last week and has majority support in the Senate.

A final vote after the so-called third reading of the bill is expected on Tuesday.

Lobby group DIGI, which represents Facebook, Google and other online platforms like Twitter Inc, meanwhile said on Monday that its members had agreed to adopt an industry-wide code of practice to reduce the spread of misinformation online.

Under the voluntary code, they commit to identifying and stopping unidentified accounts, or “bots”, disseminating content; informing users of the origins of content; and publishing an annual transparency report, among other measures.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes and Hugh Lawson)

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback

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GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback 2

By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont

(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical trial of their protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, reviving their efforts against the pandemic after a setback in December delayed the shot’s launch.

The British and French drugmakers aim to reach final testing in the second quarter, and if the results are conclusive, hope to see the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year.

In December, the two groups stunned investors when they said their vaccine would be delayed towards the end of 2021 after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older people.

Disappointing results were probably caused by an inadequate concentration of the antigen used in the vaccine, Sanofi and GSK said, adding that Sanofi has also started work against new coronavirus variants to help plan their next steps.

Global coronavirus infections have exceeded 110 million as highly transmissible variants of the virus are prompting vaccine developers and governments to tweak their testing and immunisation strategies.

GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.

“Over the past few weeks, our teams have worked to refine the antigen formulation of our recombinant-protein vaccine,” Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and head of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a statement.

The new mid-stage trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune response of the vaccine in 720 healthy adults across the United States, Honduras and Panama and test two injections given 21 days apart.

Sanofi and GSK have secured deals to supply their vaccine to the European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States. It also plans to provide shots to the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.

To appease critics after the delay, Sanofi said earlier this year it had agreed to fill and pack millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from July.

Sanofi is also working with Translate Bio on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on mRNA technology.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Matthias Blamont in Paris; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)

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Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses

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Don't ignore "lockdown fatigue", UK watchdog tells finance bosses 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.

Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists.

“During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.”

Bosses should continually revisit how they lead remote teams, he said.

“The impact of COVID-19 is creating a huge workload for those considered to be high performers, while the remote environment potentially makes it much more challenging for those who were previously considered low performers to change that perception,” Blunt told a City & Financial online event.

Companies should consider “psychological safety” or ensuring that all employees feel confident about speaking out and challenging opinions.

“We’ve heard varying reports of how successful this has been,” Blunt said.

Pressures in the financial sector were highlighted this month when accountants KPMG said its UK chairman Bill Michael had stepped aside during a probe into comments he made to staff.

The Financial Times said Michael, who later apologised for his comments, had told staff to “stop moaning” about the impact of the pandemic on their work lives.

Blunt was speaking as the FCA next month completes the full rollout of rules that force senior managers at financial firms to be personally accountable for their decisions to improve conduct standards.

There have only been a “modest” number of breaches reported to regulators so far as firms worry about being “tainted” but more cases will become public as sanctions are revealed, Blunt said.

“Regulators won’t be impressed by lowballing the figures.”

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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