Australia inks fintech cooperation deal with Dubai


Australia’s corporate regulator ASIC has secured a cooperation agreement with The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) to nurture financial technology innovation and development across both jurisdictions.

The DFSA-ASIC pact marks the ninth fintech referral agreement secured by the Australian regulator following similar deals with the United Kingdom, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, Switzerland, and Canada’s Ontario province.

As with other fintech agreements secured by ASIC, the DFSA deal will allow each regulator to refer fintech businesses to each other for support and guidance, and provide a framework for information sharing between the authorities.

The agreement also provides a direct pathway and support for Australian fintechs looking to establish themselves in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) – a special economic zone and dedicated hub for multinational financial institutions and wealth funds. Dubai-based fintechs will also be offered the same privileges in Australia.

According to ASIC Commissioner John Price, regtech was a mutual point of interest for the regulators and key to securing the partnership. As part of the agreement, ASIC and the DFSA have agreed to share information on upcoming regtech trials.

“Regtech is becoming more and more important – this is a new frontier in our bilateral cooperation that will benefit both regulators and businesses,” Price said. 

Despite a relatively modest presence on the global fintech map, Dubai appears committed to developing its nascent financial technology industry.

The Emirate recently established several initiatives aimed at encouraging fintech innovation, including the ‘FinTech Hive’ accelerator program, and the Dubai Future Accelerators, which involves an intensive nine-week program pairing technology companies with government organisations.

Earlier this month, the DIFC also announced a $100 million fund to accelerate fintech development within the Emirate.

Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC, said: “the fund will leverage the DIFC’s fintech ecosystem consisting of attractive experimental licenses, market-leading pricing and collaborative spaces. There is immense opportunity in this market, and this will be one more step towards shaping the future of finance in the region.”