The DFSA (Dubai Financial Services Authority) Innovation Testing Licence provides a controlled environment for the testing of innovative FinTech ideas without being subject to more comprehensive regulatory requirements. The DFSA regulatory sandbox guidance and application form are available (the latter available when the sandbox cohort applications are open for potential pariticipants.) Also available is a Frequently Asked Questions document. The purview of the DFSA's mandate includes the DIFC (Dubai International Financial Centre).
From the DFSA website:
In assessing if a business involves innovation and the use of FinTech, the DFSA will consider, if the business model, product or service uses new, emerging or existing technology in an innovative way, and if it brings a new benefit to consumers or industry
- it must involve an activity that, if carried on in the DIFC, would amount to a Financial Service (or combination of Financial Services); In order to obtain a DFSA Licence, the activity proposed must involve a Financial Service within the scope of the DFSA’s regulatory regime, for example, arranging deals in investments or advising on financial products.
- it must be ready (or soon be ready) to start testing with customers or industry;In assessing if a business is ready to start testing, the DFSA will want to see a regulatory test plan that, for example, sets out the objectives and parameters for testing, and the timeline and key milestones for that testing.
- the firm must intend to roll out its business on a broader scale in or from the DIFC after it has successfully completed testing.The DFSA will want to see evidence of how the operator intends to roll out its business at the end of the test period.