Fintech Consulting in UAE

Transforming Finance, Igniting Success: Explore Enterslice's Fintech Licensing Support in the UAE. Your Gateway to Regulatory Compliance, Fintech Innovation, and Unparalleled Business Growth.

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Fintech Consulting & Licensing Support in UAE

UAE is known for its oil exports and years; its economy has been driven and contributed by these. Changing times bring substantial modifications, resulting in UAE now being an established name amongst the global financial hubs providing robust banking and financial services inclusive of comprehensive financial technology, i.e., fintech landscape. Enterslice and its economic and legal consultants could help you make your mark in this highly competitive yet productive UAE fintech ecosystem. We have experts who are well versed with the global financial hubs and the dynamics of such markets; any new startup or an established company willing to penetrate the fintech marketplace of UAE could take assistance from Enterslice to make their fintech functioning smoothly and risk-free.

Concept of fintech licensing

In recent times, the traditional market players have been challenged by the industries arising out of combining finance with technology, popularly known as fintechs. Today, a fintech business model is any technologically enabled financial innovation that might produce new business models, applications, processes, or products that can affect the financial market. Due to stringent consumer protection rules, these fintech business models can't be part of the public domain without obtaining authorisation from the regulatory authorities; this authorisation generally is in the form of licensing, which gives the right businesses to have innovative fintech models to introduce in the public domain. Each nation has separate policies regarding fintech licensing, and an entity willful of obtaining the exact needs to register them according to the local laws. These licensed fintech entities rely on electronic channels for their distribution, making cross-border interactions and outsourcing products accessible and converting the global market into a unified marketplace.

With Enterslice, Embrace Your Journey as a Fintech Licensed Company By

Preparation

With Enterslice, be prepared to procure a fintech license without challenges.

Deliberation

We will strategize and discuss your business plans to identify the quality areas that could highlight your license application.

Conviction

If you need a consultant who holds strong beliefs and trust in your business model, then Enterslice could be your go-to consultant. Our team, with solid conviction, leads the journey of fintech licensing.

Enterslice Fintech Licensing Services Making Your Business

Projected

With the help of Enterslice, make a sustainable plan, calculated effort, and value proposition that could help protect your business the right way.

Reasonable

Enterslice doesn’t believe in the policy of exaggerating and making worldly plans for its clients; we believe in a reasonable approach and follow compliance to compliance formula for fintech licensing in Dubai.

Practical

At Enterslice, we believe in doing something rather than just rambling on random ideas; we make sensible and working plans to make license claims and have a firm foot in front of regulatory authorities.

Feasible

It will be our responsibility to make your company technologically enabled by making your existing operating model sound enough to fill the gaps in existing technology.

Regulatory Framework of Fintech in UAE

The financial services sectors in UAE comprise onshore and offshore fintech zones, within which offshore zones are the economic free zones in UAE. They include Dubai and Abu Dhabi as their fintech marketplaces, and onshore fintech markets are those other than Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

1. Onshore financial services sector

The onshore financial services sector includes investment banks and conventional and Islamic commercial banks, moneychangers, finance companies, economic and monetary intermediaries, offices of foreign banks, and retail payment systems.

2. UAE Central Bank

The UAE Central Bank regulates the licenses of financial services conducted outside the DIFC and ADGM. For insurance-related activities, the central bank is the supervisory and regulatory authority, and the central bank & organisation of financial institutions and activities, also known as the banking law of UAE, is the critical regulation for financial services in UAE, which also regulates and specifies the central bank's operations.

3. Dubai Financial Services Authority DFSA

The firms interested in financial services in Dubai need to obtain a fintech license from DIFC, i.e., Dubai International Financial Center, and submit their license applications to the DFSA Dubai Financial Services Authority. In the application, the industry must mention the business they wish to engage in and the license category they are procuring. Dubai’s virtual assets regulatory authority (VARA) in the year 2023 issued Dubai’s virtual assets and related activities regulations to set a comprehensive virtual assets framework and to regulate the budding virtual asset-based fintech companies; the reason behind these regulations was to build economic sustainability and cross border financial security. Any firm planning to carry out virtual asset activities in the region of Dubai needs to obtain a VARA license before commencing its operations. Any new or existing firm needs to apply for a license per the rules and regulations set under VARA.

4. Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA)

Abu Dhabi global market has within its ambit the Abu Dhabi International Financial Centre and FSRA, i.e., the financial services regulatory authority; it does business in diverse ranges of fintech sectors such as asset management, fintech corporations and professional services firms and provides legal structure, company registration and incorporation, regulatory and licensing related guidelines for the fintech companies visioning to establish their business in Abu Dhabi.

Enterslice Licensing Services

Documentation Assistance- Our fintech experts offer easy and hassle-free Paper works guidance with checklists and updated formats occasionally.

Compliance Support- establishing a cross-border fintech industry involves multiple compliances, which, when not appropriately followed, cause delays in the licensing process. Our legal team will help you in systematic compliance formulation along with time-to-time compliance support per the regulation changes.

Expert Guidance- we customise fintech strategies per your company's business model. To achieve the same, we assign a dedicated fintech expert who will provide expert guidance and support and help you make the right decisions for your company.

Overview of UAE Fintech Landscape

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a chosen and elective monarchy formed from the federation of seven emirates, namely Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al Quwain, out of which Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the leading financial service providers having an efficient and stringent fintech regulatory framework.

According to the Ministry of Economy in the United Arab Emirates, in 2022, amongst the entire MENA region, the UAE's fintech market is leading with USD 2.5 billion. UAE is a region attracting investments from the largest fintech-oriented financial institutions.

It is a leading hub for financial sectors such as marketplace lending and underwriting platforms, blockchain and crypto-oriented fintech, regtech including complaints software related to audit, risk and regulatory framework, personal finance fintech, payments and billing services, digital insurance, capital markets fintech including sales and trading.  Investment and wealth management platforms, money transfers and remittances software, and mortgage lending digitisation and financing platforms. The territory of UAE consists of more than 50% of the Middle Eastern fintech companies; it has incubators and accelerators such as DIFC fintech hives, ADGM RegLab, ecosystem components such as MENA fintech association, Hub71, leading fintech investors such as Dubai angel investors, middle east venture partners, and initiatives such as fintech Abu Dhabi program hosted by ADGM, iFX EXPO Dubai, fintech surge by DIFC, fin novex central east hybrid summit Dubai, ghadan 21 Abu Dhabi’s 3-year accelerator program.

Fintech licensing types in UAE

1. Fintech license issued by Central Bank of UAE

The Central Bank of UAE provides a fintech license to the national retail bank so that they can continue robust and customer-friendly banking; licenses to foreign retail banks, wholesale banks national as well as foreign, and licenses to specialised banks are provided to entities of banking sectors, similar to this are the licenses given to the insurance providers, stored value facilities license, retail payment system license, large value payment system license, exchange business license.

2. DIFC License

The firms interested in financial services in Dubai need to submit applications to the DFSA Dubai financial services authority. In the application, the industry needs to mention the business they wish to get engaged in and the category of license that they are procuring, DIFC issues licenses for all kinds of fintech businesses such as for virtual assets there is a VARA license, for businesses accepting deposits, managing an unrestricted profit-sharing account category 1 license, Business of investments and providing credits Category 2 license, Principals or dealing with investments as agents Category 3 A, Custody of fund, and trusteeship of a fund, Operating an employee money purchase scheme Acting as the administrator of an employee money purchase scheme category 3B license, Managing a collective investment fund, managing assets, providing trust services, Providing custody, Managing a profit-sharing investment account category 3C license, payment account, executing payment transactions, issuing payment instruments category 3D license, arranging credit or deals in investments/advising on financial products category 4 license and Islamic financial institution Category 5 license.

3. Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) license

Abu Dhabi Global Market regulates the fintech licenses for the Abu Dhabi territory. Under ADGM is the financial services regulatory authority (FSRA), which evaluates the license proposals of the entities willing to provide financial services. The distribution of licenses is as per different categories such as for banks category one license, for entities acting as market maker or credit provider category two license, brokerage related financial services category 3A license, custodian of funds category 3B license, asset manager and fund manager category 3C, investment and insurance advisor category four license, Islamic business category five license.

Adhering to licensing requirements

Choosing the type of fintech business and applying for a license suitable to that business along with fulfilling other criteria for licensing such as capital requirement, consumer protection mandates, KYC and client onboarding mandates, data protection regimes, intellectual property management, anti-money laundering, and cyber security regimes are all to be attached with the licensing application be it within the UAE, DIFC or ADGM, complying by these without the support of a consultant makes it difficult for a fintech entity to establish a hassle-free licensed fintech business in UAE.

Setting up a regulated fintech license

Either in UAE, Dubai, or Abu Dhabi, one can avail of the facility of license consultation before initiating the licensing process; the regulatory authorities have such channels that could tell you whether or not to apply for a fintech license for which the entity needs to provide an accurate description of their product.

Consequences Faced By the Non-Licensed Fintech Company

1. Risk Of Cybersecurity, Data Privacy, Data Protection Threat

The flexibility of the Dubai marketplace is more like a bane in disguise, meaning the flexibility and easy-to-enter market approach make the market accessible to access, which also leads to the entry of such players in the market whose motivation is not making profits and doing business but data theft and cybercrimes.

2. Disruptive Technology Usage

The entry of fintech has revolutionised the world of financial services; the free zone market of Dubai welcomes industries dealing with virtual assets; before VARA in 2023, the technology usage was disruptive, which had many loose ends and will be time-consuming to regulate asset management including crypto and other virtual currencies.

3. Competitive Market Place-

Dubai is a welcoming marketplace that provides in-hand facilities and infrastructure to the parties investing and establishing their business there. This has resulted in the entry of foreign startups and even certain big giants to develop their fintech industries in Dubai. This high-rising competition is stiff to sustain for players new to fintech and virtual asset management.

1. Onshore financial services sector

The onshore financial services sector includes investment banks and conventional and Islamic commercial banks, moneychangers, finance companies, economic and monetary intermediaries, offices of foreign banks, and retail payment systems.

2. UAE Central Bank

The UAE Central Bank regulates the licenses of financial services conducted outside the DIFC and ADGM. For insurance-related activities, the central bank is the supervisory and regulatory authority, and the central bank & organisation of financial institutions and activities, also known as the banking law of UAE, is the critical regulation for financial services in UAE, which also regulates and specifies the central bank's operations.

3. Dubai Financial Services Authority DFSA

The firms interested in financial services in Dubai need to obtain a fintech license from DIFC, i.e., Dubai International Financial Center, and submit their license applications to the DFSA Dubai Financial Services Authority. In the application, the industry must mention the business they wish to engage in and the license category they are procuring. Dubai’s virtual assets regulatory authority (VARA) in the year 2023 issued Dubai’s virtual assets and related activities regulations to set a comprehensive virtual assets framework and to regulate the budding virtual asset-based fintech companies; the reason behind these regulations was to build economic sustainability and cross border financial security. Any firm planning to carry out virtual asset activities in the region of Dubai needs to obtain a VARA license before commencing its operations. Any new or existing firm needs to apply for a license per the rules and regulations set under VARA.

4. Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA)

Abu Dhabi global market has within its ambit the Abu Dhabi International Financial Centre and FSRA, i.e., the financial services regulatory authority; it does business in diverse ranges of fintech sectors such as asset management, fintech corporations and professional services firms and provides legal structure, company registration and incorporation, regulatory and licensing related guidelines for the fintech companies visioning to establish their business in Abu Dhabi.

Enterslice Licensing Services

Documentation Assistance- Our fintech experts offer easy and hassle-free Paper works guidance with checklists and updated formats occasionally.

Compliance Support- establishing a cross-border fintech industry involves multiple compliances, which, when not appropriately followed, cause delays in the licensing process. Our legal team will help you in systematic compliance formulation along with time-to-time compliance support per the regulation changes.

Expert Guidance- we customise fintech strategies per your company's business model. To achieve the same, we assign a dedicated fintech expert who will provide expert guidance and support and help you make the right decisions for your company.

Overview of UAE Fintech Landscape

United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a chosen and elective monarchy formed from the federation of seven emirates, namely Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al Quwain, out of which Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the leading financial service providers having an efficient and stringent fintech regulatory framework.

According to the Ministry of Economy in the United Arab Emirates, in 2022, amongst the entire MENA region, the UAE's fintech market is leading with USD 2.5 billion. UAE is a region attracting investments from the largest fintech-oriented financial institutions.

It is a leading hub for financial sectors such as marketplace lending and underwriting platforms, blockchain and crypto-oriented fintech, regtech including complaints software related to audit, risk and regulatory framework, personal finance fintech, payments and billing services, digital insurance, capital markets fintech including sales and trading.  Investment and wealth management platforms, money transfers and remittances software, and mortgage lending digitisation and financing platforms. The territory of UAE consists of more than 50% of the Middle Eastern fintech companies; it has incubators and accelerators such as DIFC fintech hives, ADGM RegLab, ecosystem components such as MENA fintech association, Hub71, leading fintech investors such as Dubai angel investors, middle east venture partners, and initiatives such as fintech Abu Dhabi program hosted by ADGM, iFX EXPO Dubai, fintech surge by DIFC, fin novex central east hybrid summit Dubai, ghadan 21 Abu Dhabi’s 3-year accelerator program.

Fintech licensing types in UAE

1. Fintech license issued by Central Bank of UAE

The Central Bank of UAE provides a fintech license to the national retail bank so that they can continue robust and customer-friendly banking; licenses to foreign retail banks, wholesale banks national as well as foreign, and licenses to specialised banks are provided to entities of banking sectors, similar to this are the licenses given to the insurance providers, stored value facilities license, retail payment system license, large value payment system license, exchange business license.

2. DIFC License

The firms interested in financial services in Dubai need to submit applications to the DFSA Dubai financial services authority. In the application, the industry needs to mention the business they wish to get engaged in and the category of license that they are procuring, DIFC issues licenses for all kinds of fintech businesses such as for virtual assets there is a VARA license, for businesses accepting deposits, managing an unrestricted profit-sharing account category 1 license, Business of investments and providing credits Category 2 license, Principals or dealing with investments as agents Category 3 A, Custody of fund, and trusteeship of a fund, Operating an employee money purchase scheme Acting as the administrator of an employee money purchase scheme category 3B license, Managing a collective investment fund, managing assets, providing trust services, Providing custody, Managing a profit-sharing investment account category 3C license, payment account, executing payment transactions, issuing payment instruments category 3D license, arranging credit or deals in investments/advising on financial products category 4 license and Islamic financial institution Category 5 license.

3. Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) license

Abu Dhabi Global Market regulates the fintech licenses for the Abu Dhabi territory. Under ADGM is the financial services regulatory authority (FSRA), which evaluates the license proposals of the entities willing to provide financial services. The distribution of licenses is as per different categories such as for banks category one license, for entities acting as market maker or credit provider category two license, brokerage related financial services category 3A license, custodian of funds category 3B license, asset manager and fund manager category 3C, investment and insurance advisor category four license, Islamic business category five license.

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Adhering to licensing requirements

Choosing the type of fintech business and applying for a license suitable to that business along with fulfilling other criteria for licensing such as capital requirement, consumer protection mandates, KYC and client onboarding mandates, data protection regimes, intellectual property management, anti-money laundering, and cyber security regimes are all to be attached with the licensing application be it within the UAE, DIFC or ADGM, complying by these without the support of a consultant makes it difficult for a fintech entity to establish a hassle-free licensed fintech business in UAE.

Setting up a regulated fintech license

Either in UAE, Dubai, or Abu Dhabi, one can avail of the facility of license consultation before initiating the licensing process; the regulatory authorities have such channels that could tell you whether or not to apply for a fintech license for which the entity needs to provide an accurate description of their product.

Consequences Faced By the Non-Licensed Fintech Company

1. Risk Of Cybersecurity, Data Privacy, Data Protection Threat

The flexibility of the Dubai marketplace is more like a bane in disguise, meaning the flexibility and easy-to-enter market approach make the market accessible to access, which also leads to the entry of such players in the market whose motivation is not making profits and doing business but data theft and cybercrimes.

2. Disruptive Technology Usage

The entry of fintech has revolutionised the world of financial services; the free zone market of Dubai welcomes industries dealing with virtual assets; before VARA in 2023, the technology usage was disruptive, which had many loose ends and will be time-consuming to regulate asset management including crypto and other virtual currencies.

3. Competitive Market Place-

Dubai is a welcoming marketplace that provides in-hand facilities and infrastructure to the parties investing and establishing their business there. This has resulted in the entry of foreign startups and even certain big giants to develop their fintech industries in Dubai. This high-rising competition is stiff to sustain for players new to fintech and virtual asset management.

Hassle-free Fintech license procurement with Enterslice Fintech licensing services

Fintech licensing services must be availed by every fintech entity, especially when establishing it in a foreign country because licensing rules vary worldwide. A potential and strategic fintech licensing plan ensures easy license procurement because, in most nations, rejection of the license results in delay and add-on controls and compliances.

With the help of our consultation and advisory, you can focus on building the core of your fintech business. At the same time, we will ensure the developing license compliance per the regulatory framework.

Why choose us

Vision & core values

We have faith in your trust and can do anything to keep your trust intact; we engage the community without staking our core values and vision.

Customer-centric services

We understand that the core of any business is its employees; our team of experts are polite and competitive and responds efficiently to the queries of each customer; our belief is to develop long-term and trustworthy relationships.

Convenient and consistent

We provide our clients with an environment that is convenient and consistent for them. We work without friction and with the ties of trust and credibility.

Reputed & trustworthy

If you go by word of mouth, all our clients give positive feedback for our services, making us a reputed and trustworthy organisation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Specific requirements like customer due-diligence obligation, AML risk assessment obligation, customer identity, and transaction record-keeping obligation are certain obligations a fintech industry must comply with when registering itself in UAE.

Yes, we provide consultation to the fintech companies who want to procure fintech license in Hong Kong; we assist businesses in business description statement formulation, financial resources statements support, background check support for the fintech startups, or any other support needed for a fintech industry in china.

The UAE regulatory authorities use the UAE intellectual property legal framework to protect fintech industries' inventions, utility models, and designs by patent, trademark, and trade secrets-oriented intellectual property rights law.

Financial sectors for fintech in UAE are online/mobile trading platforms, crowdfunding platforms, financial advice using technology, money transfer services, payment processing, online banking, insurance advice, and dealings in crypto assets.

Seed Investment

Initial investment in fintech businesses may be provided by the founder's family and friends and other high-net-worth individuals (angel investors) in return for an equity stake. Such seed investment is often used to fund the establishment and early growth of the business before a more significant investment is available. Such investment must not be solicited publicly or broadly. It must be limited to “friends and family” without publicity to avoid falling afoul of the UAE’s regulations on the marketing of securities.

Bank Debt

Once established and with a track record, a fintech company may seek funding in the form of bank debt, either on a secured or unsecured basis, depending on the creditworthiness and asset base of the business.

While the UAE is generally considered attractive for businesses for many reasons, no financial incentives are directed explicitly at the fintech sector. Non-financial incentives for fintech businesses to choose the UAE are its access to a large, affluent and sophisticated customer base, its utility as a base for access to the broader GCC market, and the UAE’s progressive (even aggressive) support and adoption of new technologies, thereby creating a solid ecosystem of fintech providers and service providers to that industry.

Fintech license issued by Central Bank of UAE

The Central Bank of UAE provides a fintech license to the national retail bank so that they can continue robust and customer-friendly banking; licenses to foreign retail banks, wholesale banks national as well as foreign, and licenses to specialised banks are provided to entities of banking sectors, similar to this are the licenses given to the insurance providers, stored value facilities license, retail payment system license, large value payment system license, exchange business license.

DIFC LICENSE

The firms interested in financial services in Dubai need to submit applications to the DFSA Dubai financial services authority. In the application, the industry needs to mention the business they wish to get engaged in and the category of license that they are procuring, DIFC issues licenses for all kinds of fintech businesses such as for virtual assets there is a VARA license, for businesses accepting deposits, managing an unrestricted profit-sharing account category 1 license, Business of investments and providing credits Category 2 license, Principals or dealing with investments as agents Category 3 A, Custody of fund, and trusteeship of a fund, Operating an employee money purchase scheme Acting as the administrator of an employee money purchase scheme category 3B license, Managing a collective investment fund, managing assets, providing trust services, Providing custody, Managing a profit-sharing investment account category 3C license, payment account, executing payment transactions, issuing payment instruments category 3D license, arranging credit or deals in investments/advising on financial products category 4 license and Islamic financial institution Category 5 license.

Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) license

Abu Dhabi Global Market regulates the fintech licenses for the Abu Dhabi territory. Under ADGM is the financial services regulatory authority (FSRA), which evaluates the license proposals of the entities willing to provide financial services. The distribution of licenses is as per different categories such as for banks category one license, for entities acting as market maker or credit provider category two license, brokerage related financial services category 3A license, custodian of funds category 3B license, asset manager and fund manager category 3C, investment and insurance advisor category four license, Islamic business category five license.

A fintech industry needs to follow the Rulebooks of the FSRA, FSRA’s Guidance & Policies Manual, Guidance Regulation of Digital Security Offerings and Virtual Assets under the Financial Services and Markets Regulations, Guidance Regulation of Digital Securities Activity in ADGM, Guidance Regulation of Virtual Asset Activities in ADGM, Guidance Regulatory Framework for Private Financing Platforms. Supplementary Guidance is needed to establish their fintech in the UAE territory.

Cryptocurrency and crypto asset regulation have been areas of much activity in the UAE over the past year. The issuance of Dubai Law No. 4 of 2022 regulating Virtual Assets in Dubai (VA Law) in March 2022 strengthened Dubai’s position as a global hub for digital assets. VARA must license all VASPs operating in Dubai. 

The ADGM and the DIFC have introduced similar concepts, allowing fintech companies to develop and test their products in a controlled environment without immediately subjecting them to the regulatory requirements that would otherwise apply to such entities. For the ADGM, this concept is the Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab). The DIFC has a similar concept to the RegLab, the FinTech Hive accelerator programme under which the Innovation Testing License (ITL) was introduced.

The UAE fintech regulatory authorities' licensing process is formulated to aid the challenges and disruptions that might occur in the market after attaining the license. DIFC only authorises those startups that are capable of obtaining fintech licenses.

With innovation licensing, UAE is moving forward in making innovation and technology their pathbreakers for future global fintechs.

Yes, at the license level itself, the industry needs to mention the internal auditor, i.e., somebody who is an outsider and from any other organisation must be appointed to audit the industry on a time-to-time basis.

Operational guidelines for a fintech firm are developing a test plan including the business, products, and services they seek to provide, the post-license strategy, and other administrative and operation-oriented guidelines prescribed by the authorities to the fintech firms.

Ethnicity is one of the core of the licensing process in UAE onshore as well as offshore zones. It starts with the name of the organisation, and the regulations of DFSA specifically mention how the name of the fintech organisation must not include any immoral, indecent, or unethical name to its organisation.

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