Abu Dhabi launches digital sandbox
Written by Peter Walker
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has launched a FinTech digital sandbox, allowing financial institutions and FinTechs to experiment on products and solutions in a digital platform environment, supported by regulatory standards developed by the United Arab Emirates’ Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA).
The sandbox will let participants source and procure FinTech solutions locally and globally, adopt and orchestrate the best ones that meet their business needs, and tap cross-border market access to grow and scale their business.
It will support and enable Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that connect legacy financial services systems to FinTechs in a cost-effective and scalable manner, with synthetic data hosted on the cloud in a secure manner. To promote industry adoption, interoperability, financial inclusion and convergence to higher standards, the FSRA will develop guidance on the standards and IT security requirements for open APIs and cloud adoption.
Based on FSRA’s regulatory standards for the usage of the platform, it will be able to provide a regulated environment for experimentation. FSRA will be able to leverage the digital sandbox to supervise the test activities of FinTech participants that are licensed in its Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) in real time.
ADGM will also partner with the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN) to use the global API Exchange (APIX) platform to bring together firms between the MENA and the Asia-Pacific regions.
Richard Teng, chief executive of FSRA, said: “The objective of the digital sandbox is to help financial institutions build deep digital capabilities to tap market opportunities, and promote financial inclusion through innovative technologies to better cater to the underserved population in the MENA region.
“Our partnership with AFIN will enable ADGM to drive and further accelerate the financial inclusion agenda, and expand access to financial services in Abu Dhabi, regionally and globally,” he added.
Since the UK's Financial Conduct Authority launched the regulatory sandbox concept in 2016 - the fourth cohort began testing in July - various global regulators have instigated similar plans.
This year, Norway revealed plans for a sandbox to be set up in 2019, while in the US, Arizona became the first state to let firms play in a safe regulatory space.
Despite some scepticism from authorities in America, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Monetary Authority of Singapore recently signed an arrangement to foster greater cooperation in FinTech, including access to one another's sandbox structures.