ADGM launches E-KYC utility project with consortium of key UAE financial institutions

ADGM FSRA 07/02/2018


The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), the International Financial Centre in Abu Dhabi, today announces the initiation and development of an electronic-Know-Your-Customer (e-KYC) utility in close collaboration with a key team of the UAE’s largest financial institutions.
This initiative follows the first Regional Regulators' Roundtable for MENA regulators hosted by ADGM at its FinTech Abu Dhabi Festival in October 2017 and forms part of an inclusive programme of ADGM's institutional-focused projects for 2018.

An industry consortium*, comprising Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Al Ansari Exchange, Al Fardan Exchange, First Abu Dhabi Bank, UAE Exchange and ADGM, will develop a proof-of-concept to decide the governance framework and the functional requirements of the e-KYC utility. Distributed Ledger Technologies are being considered to underpin core functionality within the platform.

Richard Teng, CEO of the FSRA of ADGM said, "The immensely positive industry response reveals how seriously the region takes robust KYC and the material impact of 'RegTech' technologies in addressing industry challenges. Banks and financial institutions are seeking more ways to meet KYC and AML requirements and standards. With increased deployment of technology, such as blockchain for KYC and the efficient management of digital identities, greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness can be achieved.
The combined expertise and reach of the consortium means it will be able to deliver real benefits to the UAE’s financial services sector and cement Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a leading global financial hub.We look forward to delivering meaningful results together in the KYC space," he continued.

* Please refer to the Appendix for quotes from consortium members.

Notes to Editors:

This e-KYC initiative resonates with the UAE Innovation Month celebration. As an IFC and FinTech Hub, ADGM continues to introduce new capabilities and ideas to bolster Abu Dhabi and the UAE's position as a global hub for innovation. ADGM's efforts to establish a conductive FinTech ecosystem commenced in March 2016. ADGM was the first to establish a dedicated and open FinTech regulatory framework for the MENA region in November 2016 to licence FinTech stakeholders. It launched its Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab) - a regulatory sandbox - to provide a controlled environment for FinTech innovators to develop and test their products and services.ADGM RegLab is one of the most active global FinTech regulatory sandboxes with 16 FinTech firms with innovative solutions.


Appendix : Quotes from Consortium Partners

Philip King, Global Head of Retail, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank said: "The know your customer, or KYC, process is an important part of compliance with anti-money laundering and other bank regulations, and an important element of a healthy financial services sector. As a bank rooted in the pursuit of ethical behaviour in finance, ADIB is an enthusiastic member of this group of industry leaders, working together to deploy technology to make implementation of KYC more efficient and effective."

Rashed Al Ansari, General Manager, Al Ansari Exchange, said, "Al Ansari Exchange is proud to be part of this collaborative new endeavour, which seeks to improve the process of identifying and verifying the identities of our clients, while also reinforcing the implementation and compliance of the UAE’s financial regulations and guidelines. The development of an e-KYC utility marks a huge step towards the unified commitment to help improve financial processes in the UAE. Al Ansari Exchange remains steadfast in its commitment to support the industry's continuous growth and development-complementing its promise to provide its customers with world-class fully efficient financial-based services."

Osama Al Rahma, CEO, Al Fardan Exchange LLC, said, "Al Fardan Exchange believes e-KYC to be a game changing innovation for the UAE, allowing real time checks to be performed to the highest standards, helping bring the standard of KYC and AML protocols in the UAE to be amongst the most sophisticated in the world. With this joint initiatives and efforts, ADGM have taken the necessary steps to work and develop e-KYC proof-of-concept and offer a safe and secure, customer friendly service in the UAE by working and testing POC to the highest standards in the Regulatory Sandboxes in ADGM."

Promoth Manghat, CEO, UAE Exchange Group, said "KYC is both the cornerstone of financial services and paradoxically one of its major pain points. We are glad to be part of the consortium that will develop the proof-of-concept which decides the governance framework and functional requirements of the e-KYC utility. I am sure this will go a long way in the development of a robust FinTech ecosystem in the UAE. UAE Exchange, as a leading home-grown brand, has a strong association with ADGM and high confidence in their ability to bring forth a positive and impactful change."

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Joan Lew, Senior Manager, Communications
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