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FinTech Abu Dhabi Festival 2020 concludes with largest edition yet

more than 25,000 participants from around the world

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Abu Dhabi– The fourth edition of the FinTech Abu Dhabi Festival (FinTech AD), held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and co-hosted by the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) and Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), concluded today and recorded the event’s largest edition yet, attracting more than 25,000 participants from around the world.

The FinTech AD Festival 2020 was held in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an, and Masdar.

The last day of FinTech AD’s jam-packed, three-day agenda featured keynote addresses, panel discussions, and fireside sessions led by renowned financial figures, wherein they highlighted the latest developments and emergent trends across the FinTech sector, including Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, venture capital and start-up scaling.

Among the speakers that addressed day three of FinTech AD include Abdulhamid M Saeed Alahmadi, Governor of CBUAE, Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister Of State and Chairman of ADGM, Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, Mohamed Abdel Hameed Al Askar, Director General of Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, Deputy Group CEO of Mubadala, Umar Farooq, CEO of Onyx by JP Morgan, Yuri Misnik, Chief Technology Officer of First Abu Dhabi Bank, Ann Cairns, Executive Vice Chairman of Mastercard, and Hanan Harhara Al Yafei, CEO of Hub71.

The Youth Circle was led by Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Minister of State and Chairman of ADGM, Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, Reem Al Junaibi, Community & Operations – Hub71, Hoor Al Maazmi, Space Science Researcher – UAE Space Agency, Mohamed Jawad Shalo, Head of Financial Crime Prevention Unit, FSRA – Abu Dhabi Global Market, Shamma Al Fahim, Senior Specialist, Capital Markets Authorisation, FSRA – Abu Dhabi Global Market, and Abdulla Alshehhi, Space Technology Senior Researcher – UAE Space Agency The UAE Minister of State for Youth Affairs, said: “FinTech is a growing priority for governments who are serious about investing in the future and the UAE is one of these nations. We are no strangers to rapid developments and swift changes to the status quo, and we are comfortable with the uncertainty that comes with innovating. The Federal Youth Authority, alongside ADGM, strongly believes in the power of young people in designing and imagining the future.”

“It has always been the leadership’s top priority in nurturing and developing the youth as part of its nation-building commitment. This unfaltering focus continues from the practice of our Founding Fathers, who believe that the ability of young people in building the country’s future. The UAE leadership and ministries have taken tremendous strides in engaging the youth in government entities and companies so that their voice, views and suggestions are included. The country is committed to supporting its young people with the necessary skills and knowledge to enhance its international role and be the UAE’s voice globally as well.”

Mohamed Abdel Hameed Al Askar, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, said: “Abu Dhabi features a wide ecosystem that is equipped to support any industry, including finance, banking and healthcare. As part of Abu Dhabi’s wise leadership, the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority works on four main pillars: data, security, services and infrastructure. We embed collaboration, security, personalization and proactiveness across every aspect of our work, a prime example of which is our initiative with Ghadan 21 concerning Abu Dhabi’s government services.”

Hanan Harhara Al Yafei, CEO of Hub71, said: “What makes Hub71 different is that it is based out of Abu Dhabi, where there is tremendous support from our leadership, which has been very forward-thinking concerning how Abu Dhabi can further establish a knowledge-based economy. Hub71 has the strong backing of its partners, such as Ghadan 21, ADIO, and Mubadala, as well as the strategic partnerships that we are creating through our corporate programmes, that serves as an attractive opportunity for start-ups to access this network.”

Richard Teng, CEO of the ADGM FSRA, said: “Abu Dhabi’s leaders and policymakers, as well as working alongside other stakeholders across the board, is key to ensuring the Emirate’s development of a digital economy and aiding in its embrace of the future, specifically sector such as FinTech and technology. This prompts us at ADGM to think of the future of finance and the future state of the economy. What we have done could not have been achieved without the efforts of Abu Dhabi’s wider network of partners and stakeholders.”

“We at ADGM are utilizing technology to support greater market access, as well as to manage risks. Through ADGM’s Regulatory Sandbox, which is the second-most active globally, we are able to get up-close and personal with innovators and entrepreneurs and we try to understand their business models. This enables us to translate to how we manage risks and we are then able to come up with tailored regulatory frameworks to support their growth.”

Ruba Yousef Al Hassan, Executive Director of Ghadan21 at Abu Dhabi Executive Office, said: “Ghadan 21 has had an exciting past two years – we’ve launched exciting ecosystems, the one which we’re most proud of is Hub71, established alongside Mubadala, which has brought a real start-up ecosystem to Abu Dhabi that have enabled start-ups to scale their operations here. We’re also very excited to have launched an AgTech incentive programme with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, which has become a very important sector to ensure food security and use of technology to advance agriculture.”

As part of FTAD’s Investor Forum, Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, Deputy Group CEO of Mubadala, took part in a fireside chat alongside Rachel Pether, Senior Advisor – SkyBridge Capital & Host of FintechTV to discuss the strategies of how sovereign funds invest, how Mubadala is investing for Abu Dhabi, and the macro-economic picture influencing the future of our economies.

Al Muhairi said: “Mubadala strives to invest in sectors, areas and businesses where we think we can achieve a good risk-to-return, meaning that we will typically lean towards forward-looking industries and sectors that will give us an above-average return. For Mubadala, technology cuts across everything that we do. We’re seeing that technology is permeating all industries and the COVID-19 pandemic has provided clear evidence that this is an accelerating phenomenon.”

Salama Al Ameemi, Director-General – Ma’an delivered a keynote speech on the ‘’Together We Are Good’’ fundraising initiative with funds of over 1bn AED raised.” He also highlights the journey to this outcome, and how technology and innovation have developed a digital funding platform, enabling the programme to provide sustainable support for affected residents in Abu Dhabi.

“Ma’an is responsible for stimulating and supporting the third sector across the Abu Dhabi landscape as we try to make a positive impact on our society. We bring together the government, private sector, not for profit organisations and community members to promote a culture of collaboration and contribution, which leads to a cohesive society. The social investment fund has been specifically created to receive contributions from the public and private sector and the wider community to tackle the most pressing social challenges that have been identified by the social sector. As the social investment fund, we have always had a strong belief it would make a big impact, but little did we know that it would be a cornerstone that changed the lives of thousands of residents and citizens in Abu Dhabi.”

During a panel discussion moderated by Hamoud Almahmoud, Editor in Chief of Harvard Business Review Arabia, Mohamed Abdel Hameed Al Askar, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority, Richard Teng, CEO of the ADGM FSRA, Hanan Harhara Al Yafei, CEO of Hub71, and Ruba Yousef Al Hassan, Executive Director of Ghadan21 at Abu Dhabi Executive Office, shared their insights on Abu Dhabi’s network of government authorities and initiatives, as well as their respective strategies, and their impact on the development of a knowledge-based economy, positioning Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a global technology and financial hub. The panellists highlighted the importance of championing a robust start-up ecosystem that allows for the growth of emerging technologies that contribute to Abu Dhabi’s development across various sectors, such as financial services, agriculture, urban development, and health, among others.

Anat Guetta, Chairwoman – Israeli Securities Authority, said: “As technology becomes more inherent in the financial services market, we see that the supervisory challenges are getting bigger and more complex. Similarly, as data becomes Big Data, we as regulators need to make a shift from manual supervision to technology-based supervision. We at the ISA are currently implementing a number of programmes, one of which is the Data Science project that is managed on trading data to figure out whether we’re missing trading violations through artificial intelligence and machine learning, among others. “

Moderated by Jo Ann Barefoot, CEO of the Alliance for Innovative Regulation, Richard Teng, CEO, FSRA – Abu Dhabi Global Market, Diana Paredes, CEO & Founder – Suade Labs, Michael Piwowar, Former SEC Commissioner and Executive Director – Milken Institute, and Anat Guetta, Chairwoman – Israeli Securities Authority, contributed to a panel discussion titled ‘Regulating FinTech, for a Better Future’ wherein they shared their experiences, achievements and challenges of regulating FinTechs in their respective jurisdictions. The panelists discussed navigating the rapid pace of technological advancements, introducing progressive regulations that facilitate innovation, as well as the dimensions and role of supervisory technology in the regulatory landscape.

During a panel discussion moderated by Yossi Vardi, Chairman of the Israeli Delegation, Dov Kotler, CEO – Bank Hapoalim, Dr Ami Applebaum, Chairman of the Board & Chief Scientist – Israel Innovation Authority and Michal Braverman-Blumenstyk, Corporate Vice President – Microsoft Corporation shared their insights on the Israeli innovation ecosystem and identified the opportunities and potential of bringing a new bridge to collaboration to life.

This year’s FinTech AD Education Partner, the ADGM Academy, presented a fireside chat titled ‘Inside Wall Street: JP Morgan’s Approach to Digital’ featuring Helene Panzarino, Director of the London Institute of Banking & Finance, as well as Umar Farooq, CEO of Onyx by JP Morgan. The session discussed J.P. Morgan’s digital transformation strategy, competitiveness in the modern age and its relationship with blockchain technology.

Presented by Hub71, the FT100 Showcase featured FinTech startups catering to various sectors, including sustainability wealth and investment, Banking as a Service and Software as a Service, FT100 All-Stars, and Ma’an’s Startups for Social Good.

During the sustainability champions showcase, a number of CEO and founders of sustainable finance FinTech start-ups divulged on their operations and solutions that aim to ensure sustainable development across the markets in which they operate, including · ESUSU: Esusu is the leading financial technology platform that leverages data solutions to empower tenants and improve property performance.

· Finclude: Finclude revolutionizes creditworthiness and affordability assessment of individuals with machine learning on their financial behaviour.

· IFUNDWomen: IFundWomen is the go-to funding marketplace for women-owned businesses and the people who want to support them with access to capital, coaching, and connections.

· NOW Money: NOW Money uses mobile banking technology to bring accounts and remittance to the unbanked population of the Middle East.

The FT100 Showcase featured start-ups scouted by the Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an, one of FinTech AD’s government partners, who are breaking boundaries in the field of social good, including · I Hear You: Based in the UAE, I Hear You is a mobile application that enables communication from text to sign language and vice versa.

· Key2Enable Assistive Technology: Based in Brazil, Assistive technology empowering People of Determination to use tablets, computers and smartphones with adapted hardware and accessories.

· Nafas Meditation App: Based in the UAE, Nafas is an Audio-only library of mindfulness content that is geared toward Arabic speaking people, we help our users to build resilience and reduce stress and anxiety through meditation.

· ShalaOnline: Based in the UAE, ShalaOnline is an on-demand streaming platform of online yoga and meditation classes in Arabic and English. All our sessions are taught by hand-picked certified Instructors.

The FT100 Investing and Wealth Services start-ups showcased their innovative solutions that address pain points in the realm of investment and wealth management, including, among others: · Auquan: Auquan is a London-based fintech company on a mission to improve the investment management industry by bringing data science to every investment team, allowing fundamental teams to benefit from the latest technology, including machine learning, natural language processing and knowledge graph technology.

· Bambu: Based in Singapore, Bambu is a leading global provider of digital wealth technology for businesses of every size and industry, from finance to commercial or even new disruptors, transforming the digital wealth market.

· Delio: Based in the United Kingdom, Delio helps financial institutions to connect their clients with private investment opportunities quickly, transparently and compliantly.

· Equitise: Equitise is an Australian & New Zealand investment platform for startups that brings extraordinary opportunities to everyday people.

· FinaMaze: Based in the UAE, FinaMaze is the region’s first AI-Based-Asset-Manager inspired by Nobel Prize-winning academicians and committed to solving long-standing challenges of the investment industry.

· Ignition Advice: Based in Australia, Ignition helps financial institutions attract, retain, and service consumers digitally.

The FinTech AD Festival once again held the FinTech Awards, showcasing the very best in global FinTech innovation in the UAE and the region. The Awards elevate grassroots talent and celebrate the boldest ideas and initiatives driving the industry. The winners of this year’s FinTech Awards include Michele Grosso, CEO of Democrance, Dinarak, ClauseMatch, Shorooq Partners, Manzil, UAETradeConnect, Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), Nameer Khan of the MENA FinTech Association, and Neha Mehta, Founder of FemTech Partners.-WAM

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