On 16 September 2018, the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority’s (SCA) chairman Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri announced that the SCA would regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs) and recognise them as securities, as well as introduce controls for trading digital tokens. The statement reads: “In light of the rapid development of the digital tokens market and the response thereto by the regulators in a number of countries worldwide towards regulating the initial coin offerings, the SCA Board of Directors has approved the SCA plan to regulate the ICOs and recognise them as securities”.
On 25 September, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the international financial centre (IFC) in Abu Dhabi, via its Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB). The aim of the MoU is to seek opportunities to collaborate and consult on initiatives to promote the growth and development of the FinTech ecosystem in Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Under its terms, ADIB will partner with the FSRA across a range of Islamic-compliant FinTech-related initiatives. This partnership adds to ADGM’s FinTech commitment through the Abu Dhabi Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) — a regulatory framework that offers a controlled environment for FinTech innovators to develop and test their products and services with the regulator.
On 7 August, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre (IFC) in Abu Dhabi, and the Responsible Finance & Investment Foundation (RFI), a think tank for responsible finance, announced their entry into a partnership to help the growth and sustainability of the FinTech ecosystem through financial inclusion and ethical and responsible finance practices.
Both parties said that they would like to encourage entrepreneurship, foster ethical and responsible investments, and highlight opportunities for Islamic-compliant FinTech services and Islamic finance activities for the region and beyond. They will highlight emerging FinTech trends and support the development of innovative Shari’ah-compliant FinTech companies seeking to participate in the Middle East and African markets. The collaboration establishes an open platform for both RFI and ADGM to share expertise and knowledge and they say they will also work closely to enable and assist investors, FinTech entrepreneurs and innovation firms in testing and introducing innovative products, services and solutions. This will take place in the environment of the ADGM Reglab programme, a regulatory laboratory to accelerate FinTech Innovation.