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SAMA and CMA: Innovation in Fintech Plays a Significant Role in the Development of the Financial Sector

Fintech Tour 20, the largest cluster of fintech events in the Middle East, kicked off on Sunday 29th of November and will continue for 2 weeks. 

H.E. Dr Ahmed Alkholifey, the Governor of the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) and H.E. Mr. Mohammed Elkuwaiz, Chairman of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) opened Fintech Tour 20 with a welcome address, sharing their vision for fintech in Saudi Arabia. 

SAMA has issued a number of regulations to support fintech activities in the Kingdom . In the welcome address, H.E. Dr. Alkholifey reiterated SAMA’s support for the development of the fintech industry in Saudi Arabia. “We want to support innovation and encourage competitiveness in the financial sector,” said Dr. Alkholifey.  “We are hoping that there will be growth in fintech innovation both from fintech companies as well as the traditional institutions in the financial sector,” he added. Dr. Alkholifey also highlighted SAMA’s Regulatory Sandbox as one of the most significant steps taken by the Saudi Central Bank in supporting fintech activity in the Kingdom. To date, the Regulatory Sandbox has issued testing licenses to 32 fintech companies.

CMA has also  continued to encourage and empower fintech entrepreneurs.  In the welcome address, H.E. Mr. Mohammed Elkuwaiz highlighted the importance of fintech innovation in driving forward the capital markets particularly in relation to supporting greater financial inclusion. “Enabling fintech innovation in the capital markets supports new business models to develop,” said Mr Elkuwaiz. “Technology enables large numbers of investors and companies to access the capital markets that were not able to previously benefit from it. We are excited about how fintech innovation will add a range of benefits to the capital markets industry,” he added. Mr Elkuwaiz also addressed the challenges facing fintech companies and explained that fintech solutions are innovative by nature and therefore needed a new framework to support their development. This led to the development of the CMA FinTech Lab, which has successfully issued FinTech ExPermits to 15 fintech companies across three cohorts for various activities.

2020 has been a pivotal year for the fintech industry in Saudi Arabia. SAMA and CMA have continued to issue regulatory testing licenses and develop regulations to support fintech activities, Fintech Saudi has launched a number of initiatives to support the fintech industry including the Fintech Accelerator and the Fintech Community Database and the number of fintechs operating in the Kingdom have increased more than threefold from last year. The importance of fintech was also highlighted during Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20.

The Fintech Tour consists of workshops, lectures and panel discussions in Arabic and English, across three key themes of fintech trends, saudi deep dives, entrepreneurship skills and gives everyone the opportunity to engage more in fintech. The Fintech Tour will run until 10th December 2020. To find out more and to register for events, please visit www.fintechsaudi.com/tour.

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