Wave 2 of QFTH to cover more sectors: Official

January 13, 2021

The Wave 2 of Qatar FinTech Hub’s (QFTH) incubation and accelerator programmes, which are set to begin in March, will cover more financial technology (fintech) sectors, an official has said. The Wave 1 of the QFTH’s programmes, which focused on the payments sector, has attracted over 750 fintech startup applicants from 72 countries last year.

Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of the Bangladesh Forum Qatar’s Members’ Night in Doha recently, Managing Director of the Financial Sector Office at Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), Henk Jan Hoogendoorn, said the QFTH is currently still in the process of accepting applications for the programmes.

“The Qatar FinTech Hub is the flagship Qatar fintech initiative run by the Qatar Development Bank (QDB), the QFC is also a business developer, and the Qatar Central Bank (QCB) is overlooking it. We all work together to attract all kinds of fintechs. The second wave will have more sectors including Islamic fintech, but also things on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), regulatory technology and insurance technology,” he added.

Hoogendoorn reiterated the importance of regulatory technology, particularly in the fight against financial crime and money laundering.

“Regtech is very important to make life easier for controllers or regulators, but also for banks, specifically around the area of anti-money laundering and all the components of ‘Know Your Customer’ (KYC). We see a lot of future here. Another area that is very important is cyber security, to protect the data of these individuals, but also the data of the banks,” Hoogendoorn added.

It may be noted that the New Zealand’s central bank has recently announced that one of its data systems has been breached by an unidentified hacker who potentially accessed commercially and personally sensitive information.

Cybersecurity attacks, which have been evolving and getting more sophisticated, continues to be a major challenge in the financial sector. According to reports, the banking industry has also faced a surge in the number of cyber security attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hoogendoorn highlighted the importance of fintech as well as partnerships between fintech companies and banks to counter the growing fraudulent activities in the financial sector.

“The pandemic is a catalyst of fintech. Fintech will grow quicker now, because people realise it’s easier to do things without cash and ordering through e-commerce. Fintech plays an important role there. And fintech companies in Europe, US, and in Asia, have discovered that they can do things better than the old fashioned banks. So they are challenging the banks now to do things better. And they are not only disrupting, but they are also partnering with the banks. And it’s a task of the regulators to act as the controller to ensure the systems are fine,” Hoogendoorn added.

The QFTH caters to both local and global fintech entrepreneurs and startups who are looking for a launchpad and a hub in the Middle East to accelerate their growth at an international level.

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