Fintech—United Arab Emirates—Q&A guide

The following TMT practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Fintech—United Arab Emirates—Q&A guide
  • 1. What is the general state of fintech innovation in your jurisdiction?
  • 2. Do government bodies or regulators provide any support specific to financial innovation? If so, what are the key benefits of such support?
  • 3. Which bodies regulate the provision of fintech products and services?
  • 4. Which activities trigger a licensing requirement in your jurisdiction?
  • 5. Is consumer lending regulated in your jurisdiction?
  • 6. Are there restrictions on trading loans in the secondary market in your jurisdiction?
  • 7. Describe the regulatory regime for collective investment schemes and whether fintech companies providing alternative finance products or services would fall within its scope.
  • 8. Are managers of alternative investment funds regulated?
  • 9. Describe any specific regulation of peer-to-peer or marketplace lending in your jurisdiction.
  • More...

Fintech—United Arab Emirates—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to fintech in United Arab Emirates published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: June 2020).

Authors: Simmons & Simmons LLP—Muneer Khan; Raza Rizvi; Jack Rossiter

1. What is the general state of fintech innovation in your jurisdiction?

There is a generally progressive and ambitious trend around fintech innovation in the UAE, with some fintech subsectors generating more notable and scaled innovation than others. Government and public sector entities and regulators play a key role in the innovation strategies across most industry verticals and this is also the case for fintech. From a financial services regulatory perspective, the UAE comprises three separate and independent jurisdictions:

  1. the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC);

  2. the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM); and

  3. the remainder of the UAE (often referred to as ‘onshore’ or ‘onshore UAE’).

Federal-level financial services regulators have jurisdiction over onshore UAE; however, the DIFC and the ADGM each has its own regulatory bodies, and all the various regulators across all three jurisdictions have identified fintech innovation (albeit with some differing flavours) as a key priority.

In the DIFC, the DIFC FinTech Hive runs a now well-established accelerator programme that has focussed on fintech, insurtech, regtech and Islamic fintech start-ups. In tandem, the DIFC’s financial services regulator, the Dubai Financial Services Authority

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