INTRODUCTION

1) This Guidance is issued under section 15(2) of the Financial Services and Markets Regulations 2015 (“FSMR”). It should be read in conjunction with FSMR, the relevant Rulebooks of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority (“the Regulator”), and the Guidance & Policies Manual of the Regulator.
2) This Guidance is applicable to those considering developing or using “Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)”, including applicants for a Financial Services Permission in ADGM, financial services firms located outside ADGM, and participants in FinTech, RegTech, SupTech1, amongst others.
3) ADGM encourages Financial Service firms to adopt and promote the use of standardised, “interoperable”2 and trusted Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in order to create the means to adapt and update in the context of an increasingly complex and changing business environment, and the rapidly evolving needs of customers.
4) The FSRA encourages a standardised approach to creating, maintaining and governing APIs that will allow the development of innovative financial products and approaches in ADGM that will benefit customers and financial institutions throughout the UAE, the region and further afield. It is the intention of the FSRA to promote experimentation, accelerate implementation of cutting-edge technologies, and speed up industry adoption of customer-focused disruptive ideas, in order to help drive financial inclusion and realise the API economy.
5) Organisations that create APIs will be able to pivot, adopt new ideas and discard old ones quickly. They will be able to iterate their products to keep up with changes in customer behaviour in a timely manner. Investing in the agile development mind-set, and therefore APIs, can give an organisation a competitive edge. Organisations who commit to building a marketplace to trade and settle discrete, understandable, and valuable APIs will be able to accelerate their realisation of the API economy’s dividends.
6) To that end this Guidance takes a high level overview of the fundamental elements, standards and considerations that the FSRA deems necessary in providing safe and robust APIs. This Guidance should not restrict the use of APIs; rather, it is there to promote standardised approaches to building and providing APIs, which will be promoted in the ADGM Digital Sandbox.
7) This Guidance is not an exhaustive source of the Regulator’s policy on the exercise of its statutory powers and discretions. The FSRA is not bound by the requirements set out in this Guidance and may impose additional requirements to address any specific risks posed by APIs/ API developers. The Regulator is not bound by the requirements set out in this Guidance and may modify this Guidance at its discretion where appropriate.
8) Unless otherwise defined or the context otherwise requires, the terms contained in this Guidance have the same meanings as defined in FSMR and the Glossary (GLO).
9) For more information please contact the FSRA at FinTech@adgm.com

1 These terms are used in various ways in the financial services industry. “FinTech” at its broadest incorporates all financial technology. “RegTech” includes those technologies that facilitate compliance with regulations. “SupTech” includes those technologies that facilitate supervision of financial markets and actors.
2 The API is able to exchange and use information with other APIs, different systems, devices, applications or products to connect and communicate in a coordinated way.