The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has carved out a dedicated fintech arm to drive digital financial services in the Kingdom.
The new unit is tasked with approving entrants to the country’s fintech regulatory sandbox, supervising the activities and operations of licensed companies including cloud computing, payment and settlement systems and monitoring technical and regulatory developments in the fintech space.
“We are pleased to announce the new fintech unit at the CBB, which will enable us to allow industry players to freely apply innovative products while maintaining the overall safety and soundness of the financial system. This is a major step in the development of the current ecosystem in place to encourage growth in the fintech industry, and we are keen on welcoming more local, regional, and international fintech firms in the Kingdom,” said Rasheed Al Maraj, the governor of the CBB.
The establishment of the new department follows the creation of the regulatory sandbox in June 2017 (See IFN Fintech June 2017), designed to attract fintech firms into the Kingdom which has placed an urgent importance on Shariah compliant finance solutions, and a regulatory framework for crowdfunding – conventional and Shariah compliant (See IFN Fintech August 2017). To-date, there are four participants in the regulatory sandbox including Now Money, a Dubai-based payment solutions provider facilitating Islamic banking services.