On the heels of publishing its crowdfunding regulations last November, Oman’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) has licensed its first Islamic global crowdfunding platform, Ethis Investment Platform.
To offer both equity and peer-to-peer (P2P) financing, Ethis Investment will be operated by the Ethis Group, an operator of equity and P2P crowdfunding platforms in Malaysia and Indonesia as well as a global donation-based crowdfunding platform.
It is also understood that the CMA expects to license several more crowdfunding platform operators “soon”, both Islamic and conventional.
“The crowdfunding platform initiative by the CMA aims to provide an alternative financing platform for companies, including SMEs, to raise funding directly from global and local investors without going through a financial institution intermediary, while enhancing financial inclusion by providing an easier financial access to all segments of society. In addition, it is in line with Oman’s Vision 2040 as an enabler to develop and diversify the economy, and attracting foreign investors into Oman,” the CMA noted.
This development bodes well for the Sultanate’s fledgling fintech sector. The CMA has in recent years been proactive in engaging fintech stakeholders as part of its efforts to design a comprehensive and conducive Islamic fintech ecosystem. In 2020, the regulator revealed that it was exploring new fintech initiatives including implementing distributed ledger technology for the Takaful and insurance sector. These follow a raft of other initiatives including the introduction of an e-platform for virtual meetings, amid the global COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the regulator also launched an e-payment service tender for the Dhamani health insurance and Takaful platform and an electronic system for licensing health insurance third-party administrators. The Central Bank of Oman is also spearheading several fintech measures – in 2020, it introduced a fintech regulatory sandbox.