DIFC signs fintech agreement with Accenture

DUBAI: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with professional services company Accenture, to develop Financial Technology (fintech).

Under the MoU, Fintech Hive at DIFC will collaborate with Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Labs in New York, London and Hong Kong, to share resources and knowledge on the latest research and trends in financial technology.

In line with DIFC’s Growth Strategy 2024 and Dubai Vision 2021, Fintech Hive at DIFC aims to fill a void in the market by giving financial companies access to state-of-the art technologies to support their digital transformation.

“What sets us apart is our ability to harness the assets to grow fintech locally that will ultimately create more jobs, attract investments and support the economy as a whole,” said Arif Amiri, chief executive officer of DIFC Authority.

The Fintech Innovation Labs are annual 12-week accelerator programmes that bring together early-stage financial technology companies and the world’s leading financial institutions. Globally, the Labs’ alumni companies have raised more than US$1.07 billion in venture financing after participating in the programmes.

“In today’s hyper-connected world, this type of alliance is critical for maximising talent development and innovation. With surging demand for fintech solutions and Dubai’s increasing presence on the global financial scene, we are confident that this international collaboration will generate incredible opportunities for the region,” said Sushil Saluja, a senior managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services practice.

DIFC has recently announced that the 2018 programme, which is opening for applications in May, will be expanded to include insurance, Islamic finance, and regulatory technology services. First Abu Dhabi Bank, Arab Bank and Noor Bank will join the programme this year, with returning financial institutions to include Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Citigroup, Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, HSBC, Mashreq, Standard Chartered, UAE Exchange, and Visa.

Source : https://gulfnews.com/business/markets/difc-signs-fintech-agreement-with-accenture-1.2216804

Fintech firms to benefit from DIFC $100m fund

Fintech Fund (DIFC)

Dubai:  Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) new $100 million (Dh367 million) FinTech fund, which will come from internal resources, will support Fintech Hive start-ups in Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, robotics, DIFC governor Essa Kazim said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the Global Financial Forum, which was opened by Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the president of DIFC.

DIFC thinks that fintech is “underserviced” and the allocation of funding going into this new business is “very very limited” in the MEASA region, accounting to less than 1 per cent of the total.

DIFC Fintech Fund

“We are ready to spend the money. But it will depend on opportunities and if it makes commercial sense,” Kazim told reporters. “We want to consolidate the position of the DIFC and to be at the forefront of the changes that may happen in the financial sector.”

The fund can grow bigger, Kazim said.

“We have been talking with some government departments at federal level, or local level. If the interest materialises into anything then definitely the structure of the fund will be different,” he said.

“We don’t mind having other entities mainly government or semi government entities to participate in this fund. Today the fund is sufficient to support our own initiatives whether it is development of Fintech hive, the type of companies that are going to be supported by accelerator,” Kazim added.

Importance of Fintech

The 2024 strategy, which was a 10-year plan of the DIFC to triple its size, was launched 3 years ago, but Kazim didn’t envisage that Fintech would have been a part of the strategy, when the announcement was made.

“There is a new order that global financial services industry needs to navigate … the new alliances are being forged. The rapid emergence of advanced technology in all areas of finance is creating shifts like never before in the industry,” Kazim said.

Updating on the achievements made so far in the 10 year strategy rolled out in 2015, Kazim said “We are on track (in terms of meeting targets for the 10 year strategy). In certain areas we have passed our targets, but other areas we are lagging behind in area of employment. Although the number of licenses are on track attracting companies, but there is a little lag (not significant) in terms of employment,” said Kazim.

Falling oil prices has not been a negative for the center to attract businesses. Before the drop in oil price, the DIFC licensed 150 companies a year on an average, after that the average jumped to 300 companies.

“That (funding) element has encouraged banks to really expand their balance-sheet and provide credit to regional governments. Governments have been active in issuing bonds and sukuk and that also encouraged financial activities in the DIFC,” Kazim said.

DIFC also hopes to attract more asset managers, financial institutions from India and China.

Regarding competition from other financial centers, Kazim said “competition is always there. The UAE was built on competition and on market forces. We have 5 airports, and 7 ports, and financial activity is one of those things. We don’t fear competition, and it is always good.”

Source :
https://gulfnews.com/business/markets/fintech-firms-to-benefit-from-difc-100m-fund-1.2124444