Mohamed Omran, the head of the Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA), said that the authority’s board of directors is keen on quickly issuing the necessary executive decisions to implement the law regulating the use of financial technology (fintech) in non-banking financial activities.
He said that the law regulating the use of fintech in non-banking financial activities is part of the FRA’s ambitious programme to develop the non-banking financial sector.
The law facilitates access to the largest possible base of customers wishing to benefit from non-banking financial activities, raises their efficiency, and reduces costs. This creates a qualitative leap by providing a license for the practice of four electronic applications, specifically, electronic applications for financial adviser programmes that analyse clients’ data, their current financial status, and future financial goals to provide them with technical advice.
Additionally, there are electronic applications for microfinance, insurance, and consumer financing after the authority monitored the accelerating global trend and countries started racing to employ the technology of these applications in the non-banking financial sector and fintech.
The eighth article of the law authorised the FRA’s Board of Directors to adopt other electronic applications as long as it has the authority to perform the tasks of non-banking financial activities and have systems to protect customer data from electronic intrusion and cyberattacks and complies with the authority’s controls on verifying digital identities and digital contracts in implementing non-banking financial activities and anti-money laundering controls.
Omran revealed that the practitioners of non-banking financial activities using digital financial technology will be divided into two categories. The first represents companies wishing to engage in non-banking financial activities through digital financial technologies. These companies will fully conduct their activities using digital technology after they are established and licensed by the authority in accordance with the provisions of the law.
The second category represents companies and entities currently licensed by the FRA to engage in any non-banking financial activities. The law permitted this category to obtain the authority’s approval to engage in these activities by using modern technological means — either by themselves or through a third party — chosen by the FRA to undertake some tasks or activities on their behalf in accordance with an outsourcing agreement concluded between them in this regard.
Omran explained that the law “regulating and developing the use of financial technology in non-banking financial activities” stipulated in its second article that the FRA is the only administrative authority that can apply the provisions of the law in order to achieve its objectives.
The authority also supervises and controls companies and entities subject to the provisions of the law regulating and developing the use of financial technology in non-banking financial activities and receives the complaints submitted. The authority is obligated to respond to these complaints within one month from the date of completing the documents specified.
Furthermore, the FRA has provided fintech start-ups with a temporary license for a period of two years to support innovative start-ups in the field of financial technology to support non-banking financial activities and products in accordance with the terms, controls, and licensing procedures set by the authority’s Board of Directors. The minimum issued capital of these start-ups must not be less than EGP 250,000, and they will be exempted from licensing fees.
Omran noted that the law will also facilitate the authority’s oversight role in terms of ensuring standards of transparency and governance are adhered to as well as protecting dealers in non-banking financial markets by using modern, innovative technological applications.
Additionally, artificial intelligence mechanisms and other digital forms will be used to reveal violations of the law and suspected money laundering attempts.
Moreover, the FRA will provide early warning of risks related to liquidity, financing, or other financial stability matters in a way that reflects the Egyptian state’s adoption of a policy of an efficient remote work environment based primarily on the safe exchange of information, especially with the generous spending on information technology in the Middle East and North Africa, which is expected to reach $200bn, according to the latest forecasts issued by consulting and research institutions.