What's behind the UAE's push for regulatory tech in wake of COVID-19

The move to remote-working is making regulatory compliance difficult. But an emerging branch of fintech called regtech, or regulatory technology, is utilising AI and RPA to help enterprises meet their due diligence requirements.

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The UAE is encouraging its banks and financial institutions to utilise regulatory technology – increasingly known as regtech – to facilitate transactions as well as to  monitor and digitise regulatory-compliance processes.

As the coronavirus crisis forced companies over the last few months to change their business strategies to adopt remote working models and boost e-commerce offerings, the government has warned financial institutions to monitor their IT networks and above all, private data that is subject to regulatory compliance.

The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a rising number of cases that involve cybercriminals stealing personal details and money through SIM card swapping, phishing and impersonation. The growing use of the internet and the presence of vital oil infrastructure have also made Gulf countries, and in particular Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the targets of sophisticated cyberattacks that are aimed at stealing personal data and, in some cases, exposing state secrets.

Last month, a group of financial regulators, including the UAE's central bank and the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), issued guidance urging companies to improve cybersecurity and take measures to mitigate the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing.

In accordance with the standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the UAE's regulatory authorities encouraged the use of technology including fintech, regtech, and suptech (supervisory tech) to "the fullest extent possible," they said in a statement.

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