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

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


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


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.


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