In recent years, digital innovation has become a focal point in Abu Dhabi's plans and initiatives in building a knowledge-based economy to support economic growth and diversification. Since its establishment in October 2015, ADGM has led significant efforts in accelerating the digital transformation of the financial services sector in the Middle East. The Digital Lab is one such initiative to address the key challenges FIs and FinTechs encounter in their ability to deploy and scale innovation. In particular:
- FIs lack access to platforms to test and experiment with prospective FinTech solutions prior to procurement approvals and commercial agreement;
- FIs encounter major difficulties and costs to integrate their legacy banking systems with FinTech solutions; and
- FinTechs are overburdened with procurement processes and costs incurred each time they interact with the banks.
Leveraging the ADGM Digital Lab, FIs such as banks can enable rapid prototyping by:
- Replicating their operating systems within the testing environment of the Lab;
- Choosing from an ecosystem of FinTech solutions to test new product offerings or replace legacy infrastructure; and
- Developing new business models and picking and choosing components from different FinTech providers.
Through collaboration between industry and regulators, the Digital Lab aims to create a trusted marketplace for experimentation to build the enablers for the smart financial centre of the future.
OneConnect’s collaboration with ADGM on the Digital Lab is its first landing project in the Middle East. As early as July 22, 2019, OneConnect signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ADGM to jointly promote and develop FinTech innovation, ecosystems and market opportunities that will support and connect the economies in both the Belt-and Road corridor and the Middle East and North Africa region.