Bahrain’s fintech sandbox fires up with dynamic duo
Anything UAE can do, we can do better. No you can’t, yes we can. The UAE has got some competition as the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has welcomed the first members to its new regulatory sandbox – mobile banking firm Now Money and finserv provider Tramonex.
As reported in June, CBB announced new regulations to create a regulatory sandbox for fintech start-ups and firms to test and experiment their banking ideas and solutions. The framework provides a “virtual space” and it is open to existing CBB licensees and other local and foreign firms. The testing duration is nine months, with a maximum extension of three months.
Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive of the Economic Development Board of Bahrain (EDB), says: “In addition to the development of the regulatory sandbox, we have a number of further initiatives we expect to be launched in the coming months including a venture capital fund-of-funds.”
Now Money is based in Dubai and says it is “the first fintech in the Gulf region to use mobile banking technology to provide accounts, financial inclusion and a range of low-cost remittance options to low-income migrant workers”.
Tramonex was founded in 2013 by Amine Berraoui and Marc Avedissian. It is authorised by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and a regulated payment institution in the UK, and “passported” in the EU. Last year, it partnered with Saxo Payments for segregated client accounts in 25 currencies, and foreign exchange (FX) liquidity.
Heating up nicely
While the UAE (usually Dubai) is doing a lot, Bahrain has been trying to do more in the fintech space.
In March, it looked to Singapore’s success as it tries to boost its fintech fortunes with a new ecosystem and regulatory framework. EDB, Singapore Fintech Consortium (SFC) and Dubai-based asset management firm Trucial Investment Partners teamed up for these development plans.
By the way, in June, David Parker, executive director, financial services, EDB, discussed “The rise of Islamic fintech, global opportunities for Bahrain”.
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