The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), in collaboration with Deloitte Middle East, has announced its plans to develop a Financial Technology (FinTech) ecosystem. “Fintech Saudi” is a transformative effort aligned with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program to enhance Saudi Arabia’s economic competitiveness globally and to specifically support the Financial Sector Development Program. In the next decade, Saudi Arabia aims to expand the size and scale of its financial services sector such that it becomes the region’s primary market.
FinTech is recognized as one of the most important, and rapidly evolving, innovations in the financial services industry; by building a FinTech ecosystem, the Kingdom will be able to diversify its investment base and reshape how financial services are provisioned and consumed. The FinTech ecosystem will also support Saudi Arabia’s goal of becoming a premier, cash-less, digital economy.
Deloitte Middle East has been appointed as the professional services provider for this project. The ceremony to mark the signing of this agreement took place on March 4th, in the presence of Dr. Ahmed Alkholifey, SAMA governor; Abdulaziz Alfuraih, SAMA vice governor; Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO; David Sproul, Deloitte North West Europe and Deloitte UK CEO; and a number of officials from both parties.
“Aligned with the National Transformation Program 2020 and Saudi Vision 2030, SAMA is committed to supporting FinTech activity in the financial services industry. We acknowledge the value added by technology products and services to the Saudi Arabian financial services industry, whilst also appreciating there are risks associated with FinTech innovation. Therefore, SAMA has adopted a risk-based approach to testing and regulating FinTech innovation – we are currently developing a ‘regulatory sandbox’ that will provide a light-touch approach to testing innovative products. This way SAMA can understand the risks associated with the solutions and regulate them effectively before they are launched into the marketplace,” said Dr. Ahmed Alkholifey, SAMA governor.
Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO said: “Deloitte has an excellent track record building FinTech ecosystems, and in producing cutting-edge thought leadership on the state of digital financial services around the world. Our global reach provides us with strong relationships with key stakeholders in the broader FinTech ecosystem and enables us to draw FinTech-related insights and expertise from our extensive network of SMEs. This agreement will foster growth, innovation and collaboration across the financial services industry in KSA.”
“We are very excited for the launch of Fintech Saudi, which will be an important catalyst in the development of a thriving FinTech industry in the Kingdom and the region. Saudi Arabia truly has the right ingredients to host a FinTech hub, not least of all because of its burgeoning and tech-savvy youth,” said Ziad Al-Yousef, Director General of Payment Systems at SAMA. “The work of FinTech Saudi fits within the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 objectives, particularly in increasing financial inclusion and the prominence of small and medium enterprises. In the coming weeks and months, I am confident that we will see a positive uptick in innovation and the growth of an active FinTech ecosystem.” he added.
“FinTechs have the potential to reshape customer experience and transform financial services, and having an effective ecosystem became a necessity to unlock this potential. SAMA recognizes the importance of the FinTech ecosystem and we are glad to be supporting them in a number of activities, including setting up “Fintech Saudi,” defining a blueprint and roadmap for the future of FinTech in KSA, developing talent, and contributing to shaping the FinTech regulatory landscape” said Rushdi Duqah, Senior Director, Consulting, Deloitte Middle East.