The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the independent financial regulator of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), is enhancing its regulatory framework by focusing on the future of finance.
The DFSA set up the Innovation Testing Licence (ITL) Programme to encourage innovation in the Dubai International Financial Centre and protect the market against risks. This year, 26 companies expressed interest in the programme and 17 of these were asked to submit an application; these are now being reviewed. Applicants include firms wanting to provide payment and money transmission services, wealth management, tokenised payment services, and biometric-enabled financial services.
The DFSA hosts RegTech events focusing on driving compliance through innovation. The most recent event highlighted the importance of this area and saw demonstrations from seven RegTech providers in the area of cyber risk mitigation, data analysis, transaction monitoring, and eKYC.
The DIFC is now the home of more than 3,200 companies and nearly 28,000 staff. Within this wider population, the DFSA regulates 521 financial services firms and registers 17 auditors and 108 designated non-financial businesses. The total assets of the financial services firms are approaching USD 200 billion. The pipeline of firms wishing to be regulated by the DFSA continues to grow.
“We are exploring and adopting innovative solutions to enhance our regulatory role, as part of our digitalisation drive,” Fadel Al Ali, Chairman of the DFSA, said. “We continue to ensure that we are aligned with the highest global standards based on the best practices and laws of the world’s leading financial jurisdictions.”
Cyber risk continues to be a concern for businesses across every sector, particularly the financial services industry that is often targeted. To foster a safe environment for firms operating within the DIFC, the DFSA launched the Cyber Threat Intelligence Platform (TIP) last year, the first regulator-led platform of its kind in the region, creating an information-sharing system for firms in the DIFC.
The TIP has over 175 registered members and continues to provide them with information about an average of over 100 new threats per week. Members of TIP also contribute to the platform, sharing their knowledge and expertise. This has been beneficial for the DFSA in terms of strengthening relationships with partners to collaborate on tackling a common threat.