Singapore’s efforts at becoming a hub for the financial technology (fintech) industry are showing no signs of slowing down. This Wednesday, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator, announced that it had formed a partnership with the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).
The DFSA is another regulator based in what many believe to be kitschiest country in the world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Despite what its name may imply, the body only regulates financial activities within the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), a financial free-zone located in the heart of the UAE’s largest city.
The agreement between the two regulatory bodies will have a range of outcomes. At the heart of the deal lies a referral agreement. This referral agreement will enable the two regulatory bodies to refer fintech companies to one another. That should enable those firms to more easily access the two jurisdictions that the regulators govern.
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MAS – building the blockchain
Alongside this will be an information sharing process. What benefits the two regulators will really accrue from this side of the deal is less clear. The statement issued by the MAS noted, ambiguously, that the deal will “facilitate the sharing of information on financial sector innovation in [the regulators’] respective markets.”
Perhaps the most exciting part of the deal will be joint research projects. According to the MAS statement, the two bodies will be researching, amongst other things, mobile payments and blockchain payments. Given that the statement includes almost every pop-finance term, the cynical side of this reporter wonders how far these efforts will be pursued.
Using the word fintech three times in one sentence, Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer at MAS, commented on the agreement: “The rising FinTech boom in the Middle East creates new opportunities for the region and beyond. Through this fintech cooperation with DFSA, we look forward to closer interactions between our markets, and for fintech firms in Singapore to capture these new opportunities and grow the fintech landscape.”