Saudi Arabia: SAMA Issues License to Digital Wallet Solution Provider, Announces Other Key Updates

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has reportedly licensed “Alhulul AlMubassatah Financial Company (SiFi)” to provide E-wallet solutions.

With SiFi, there are now 25 licensed companies “offering payment services in Saudi Arabia, in addition to 7 companies that have obtained initial approval to operate within SAMA’s regulatory sandbox.”

This decision reflects SAMA‘s endeavor “to support the payments sector, increase efficiency of financial transactions and promote innovative financial solutions for financial inclusion in Saudi Arabia.”

SAMA emphasizes the importance of “dealing exclusively with authorized financial institutions.”

In another recent update, it was noted that SAMA currently “seeks public consultation on the draft Implementing Regulation of the Systemically Important Financial Institutions Law.”

In this context, SAMA invites stakeholders and public “for their suggestions and observations on the draft by visiting the Public Consultation Platform at the National Competitiveness Center.”

The implementing regulation support SAMA in “fulfilling its mandate to maintain monetary stability, support financial stability, and promote economic growth.”

SAMA developed the implementing regulation “in accordance with its competence stipulated in Article (37) of Systemically Important Financial Institutions Law issued by Royal Decree No. (M/38) dated 25/4/1442H.” The Implementing Regulations of the Law shall be “issued pursuant to a Council of Ministers’ Resolution.”

Suggestions and observations on the draft implementing regulations “will be received within (30) days of this announcement for assessing their relevance in finalizing the draft.”

The draft is available “on the Public Consultation Platform with the National Competitiveness Center.”

As reported recently, in his opening remarks, H.E. Ayman Al-Sayari, Governor of the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) and Chairman of the Islamic Financial Services Board’s (IFSB) Council, welcomed their excellencies and IFSB council members “at the IFSB 20th Anniversary Symposium.”

Al-Sayari noted that “the global Islamic finance sector has witnessed accelerated growth, with the value of its assets standing at over SAR 11.2 trillion, displaying an average growth of 9.6% over the last 3 years.”

He added:

“Saudi Arabia has a deep-rooted and historical relationship with Islamic finance. It houses the largest Islamic Finance market in the world, with total Islamic assets across sectors exceeding SAR 3.1 trillion.”

The Islamic banking sector alone “accounts for 33% of the global Islamic bank assets,” Al-Sayari said.

The Governor also noted that Saudi Arabia is “the largest sovereign sukuk issuer in the world and its cooperative insurance sector is the fastest growing worldwide, with a growth rate approaching 27% in 2022.”

The IFSB’s annual meetings, hosted “by SAMA from 14 to 16 August ​2023, were held in Riyadh to discuss developments in the Islamic finance sector and boost the resiliency and stability of the Islamic Financial Services Industry (IFSI).”

H.E. Al-Sayari expressed his appreciation “for the dedicated work of contributors in achieving the IFSB objectives over the past two decades.” He also assured SAMA’s commitment “to support the IFSB’s efforts to develop a resilient and sound Islamic finance market.”

This year’s annual meetings “featured several sideline events and dialogue sessions with participation from experts and decision-makers from the industry.”

The sessions explored the historical developments of “the Islamic financial industry and its role in the economic development of the member countries, emphasizing more international cooperation in developing the industry.”

During the meetings, the board members “reviewed the IFSB’s 2023 Report and the outlooks amid the tightened global financial conditions.”

They asserted the importance of “evaluating the soundness, resiliency and interlinkages of the industry sectors, including Islamic banking, capital markets and Islamic insurance.”

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