Abu Dhabi Global Market Regulatory Arm Unveils Document Proposing Changes to Virtual Asset Regulations

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), a regulator in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s financial center and free zone, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), has released a consultation paper that proposes amendments to regulations that govern the use of virtual assets. Regulator Seeks to Amend Requirements for Public Keys A regulator in the Abu […]

Abu Dhabi Global Market Regulatory Arm Unveils Document Proposing Changes to Virtual Asset Regulations

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), a regulator in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s financial center and free zone, the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), has released a consultation paper that proposes amendments to regulations that govern the use of virtual assets.

Regulator Seeks to Amend Requirements for Public Keys

A regulator in the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) — a financial centre and free zone located in the UAE — has unveiled a consultation paper proposing amendments to the regulatory framework that governs the use of virtual assets. The paper also proposes significant changes to the UAE’s capital markets framework.

In a recently released statement, the regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA), insists the proposals are aimed at reinforcing the financial center’s position in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. The proposals are also an attempt by the ADGM to strengthen its leadership position within the virtual asset industry, the statement suggested.

Before the latest consultation paper, the ADGM had been one of the few jurisdictions in the world to regulate virtual assets. Consequently, since 2018 when the regulatory framework was put in place, the financial center has seen a significant jump in the number of licensed firms offering virtual asset-related services. At the time of the consultation paper’s release, the ADGM had 11 fully-licensed and approved in-principle virtual asset players, the statement said.

Therefore, in order to help the ADGM maintain its leading position, the regulator’s consultation paper is proposing changes to the requirements on the “use, sharing, and reuse of public keys,” as well as making amendments to risk disclosure requirements. The FSRA also wants to allow regulated MTF/Custodian groups within ADGM to conduct non-fungible token (NFT) activities.

Enhancing ADGM’s Financing Ecosystem

Elsewhere in the document, the FSRA is proposing to enhance its regulatory regime to enable offers and listings by petroleum and mining companies. The document also says the regulator is seeking to enable such companies to attract investors during their growth phases by offering better capital structures and ways to raise capital.

In his remarks following the unveiling of the consultation paper, Emmanuel Givanakis, CEO of the FSRA, is quoted in a statement explaining the reasons behind the plan to amend the financial centre’s regulatory regime. He explained:

“The significant enhancements to our capital markets framework is part of the FSRA’s objective to continue to develop ADGM’s comprehensive regulatory framework to further enhance ADGM’s vibrant financing ecosystem. It will help support and bolster the growth of enterprises that will, in turn, contribute to the growth and diversification of the economy of Abu Dhabi and the broader UAE as well as the broader region, while providing greater participant and investor choice.”

Givanakis also said the ADGM’s regulatory framework already caters to the funding needs of companies at different stages of their growth and life cycle. Meanwhile, in the statement, the FSRA said the consultation paper will open for comments until May 20, 2022. At that time, the public’s responses are due back to the FSRA.

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