The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has announced two entrants into its regulatory sandbox: Tramonex, a London-based forex cash management solution for businesses and NOW Money, the Dubai-based account and remittance service for low-income workers in the GCC.
“We are pleased to welcome the first two entrants into the regulatory sandbox, in the early stages of the framework’s launch,” stated CBB Executive Director of Banking Supervision Khalid Hamad. “This initiative highlights the CBB’s continuous efforts as the Kingdom’s single regulator to update and develop the fintech ecosystem and enable industry players to create innovative and forward-looking fintech products while maintaining the overall safety and soundness of the financial system.”
Launched in June, the Bahrain regulatory sandbox provides a virtual space for companies to test their financial technology based solutions, and is open to existing CBB licensees and other local and global firms. By offering firms an opportunity for expansion and innovation, the framework is expected to help boost fintech businesses around the globe and consolidate Bahrain’s position as a fintech and financial services hub.
“This announcement is a testament to Bahrain’s attractive investment proposition in the Gulf. Bahrain is a great testbed for innovative products in this space due to its size and easy market access to the GCC,” indicated Bahrain EDB Chief Executive H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi. “The Kingdom is ready to be at the forefront of financial innovation and technology as global fintech investment reaches $3.2 billion. 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. We are seeing real signs of momentum in the sector and are excited by the potential it will bring.”
For companies dealing in multiple currencies, Tramonex offers an efficient, quick and cheaper way of processing and transferring funds at your fingertips. The start-up focuses on facilitating conversion and settlement services to automate cross border transactions, and provides competitive services.
This past February, was granted FCA permission to enable cash placement on a payment account; provide service enabling cash withdrawals from a payment account; allows the company to execute payment transactions that are and are not covered by a credit line; allows the company to issue payment instruments or acquire payment transactions; money remittance; execute payment transactions through telecoms, IT systems, or network; issue electronic money. Tramonex may only provide payment services, within the scope of its existing registration, to no more than 1000 payment service users and the company cannot engage agents. The London-based blockchain startup reportedly received the first approval from UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to issue digital money.
NOW Money is the first fintech company 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 workers. It aims to provide access to affordable financial services for everyone.The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) assisted and advised Tramonex and NOW Money in registering for the regulatory sandbox.
Earlier this year, the CBB issued the Regulatory Sandbox Framework directive, which includes the eligibility criteria, filing requirements and timeline for the process.