Dubai and Australia forge fintech alliance

The signing took place between Ian Johnston, chief executive of the DFSA, and John Price, commissioner of ASIC. (Supplied)
Updated 24 November 2017
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Dubai and Australia forge fintech alliance

LONDON: The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have struck an agreement to cooperate on financial technology (fintech) innovation.
The accord, unveiled on Thursday, aims to promote innovation in financial services within a regulated market environment — dubbed “regtech” — via the exchange of information and the development of joint initiatives, according to a statement released by the DFSA.
The statement said ASIC was already providing help to startups through its Digital Finance Advisory Committee. John Price, commissioner of the ASIC, said: “Regtech is becoming more and more important — this is a new frontier in our bilateral cooperation that will benefit both regulators and businesses.”
A referral mechanism will enable DFSA and ASIC to refer innovative businesses to their respective authorities, according to the statement.
Ian Johnston, CEO of DFSA said: “Today’s agreement underscores our commitment to maintaining strong channels of communication with our regulatory peers and creates a regulatory framework that supports the latest developments in fintech innovation.”
The agreement forms part of a rollout of UAE innovation initiatives. In August, the DFSA launched the first tailored regime for loan and investment crowdfunding platforms in the GCC. It has also introduced an innovation testing license that allows fintech firms to develop and test innovative concepts in or from the DIFC.
The DFSA’s initiatives follow the launch of the Fintech Hive at the Dubai International Financial Center, which aims to bring together entrepreneurs and business leaders to address the needs of the region’s financial services industry, using innovative solutions.
DIFC wants to “catalyze growth and efficiency in a variety of areas including trade finance, alternative finance and Shariah-based services,” according to the ­statement.


50 years after Concorde, US start-up eyes supersonic future

Boom Supersonic co-founder, Blake Scholl, poses for a photograph in front of an artists impression of his company's proposed design for an supersonic aircraft, dubbed Baby Boom, at the Farnborough Airshow, south west of London, on July 18, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 22 July 2018
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50 years after Concorde, US start-up eyes supersonic future

  • Boom Supersonic’s aircraft is expected by the company to fly for the first time next year
  • The Concorde was retired following an accident in 2000 in which a Concorde crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris, killing 113 people

WEYBRIDGE, United Kingdom: Luxury air travel faster than the speed of sound: A US start-up is aiming to revive commercial supersonic flight 50 years after the ill-fated Concorde first took to the skies.
Blake Scholl, the former Amazon staffer who co-founded Boom Supersonic, delivered the pledge this week in front of a fully-restored Concorde jet at the Brooklands aviation and motor museum in Weybridge, southwest of London.
Boom Supersonic’s backers include Richard Branson and Japan Airlines and other players are eyeing the same segment.
The company aims to manufacture a prototype jet next year but its plans have been met with skepticism in some quarters.
“The story of Concorde is the story of a journey started but not completed — and we want to pick up on it,” Scholl said.
The event coincided with the nearby Farnborough Airshow.
“Today... the world is more linked than it’s ever been before and the need for improved human connection has never been greater,” Scholl said.
“At Boom, we are inspired at what was accomplished half a century ago,” he added, speaking in front of a former British Airways Concorde that flew for the first time in 1969.

Boom Supersonic’s aircraft, dubbed Baby Boom, is expected by the company to fly for the first time next year.
“If we can’t continue where you left off, and build on that, then the shame is on us,” Scholl said, addressing himself to an audience that included retired Concorde staff.
“Our vision is to build a faster airplane that is accessible to more and more people, to anybody who flies.”
Boom Supersonic is making its debut at Farnborough and hopes to produce its new-generation jets in the mid-2020s or later, with the aim of slashing journey times by half.
The proposed aircraft has a maximum flying range of 8,334 kilometers (5,167 miles) at a speed of Mach 2.2 or 2,335 kilometers per hour.
If it takes off, it would be the first supersonic passenger aircraft since Concorde took its final flight in 2003.
The Concorde was retired following an accident in 2000 in which a Concorde crashed shortly after takeoff from Paris, killing 113 people.
Some analysts remain skeptical over the push back into supersonic.
“Supersonic is not what passengers or airlines want right now,” said Strategic Aero analyst Saj Ahmed, stressing that many travelers wanted cheap low-cost carriers instead.
Ahmed said supersonic jets were “very unattractive” because of high start-up development costs, considerations about noise pollution and high prices as well as limited capacity.

Independent air transport consultant John Strickland also noted supersonic travel was unproven commercially.
“Business traffic, on the face of it, is the most lucrative for airlines,” Strickland told AFP.
“But if there is an economic downturn or something happens where the market for business class traffic drains away, then you have nothing else left to do with that aircraft.
“I think it’s going to be some time before we see whether it can establish a large viable market... in the way that Concorde never managed to do.”
These concerns have not stopped interest from other players.
US aerospace giant Boeing had last month unveiled its “hypersonic” airliner concept, which it hopes will fly at Mach 5 — or five times the speed of sound — when it arrives on the scene in 20 to 30 years.
And in April, NASA inked a deal for US giant Lockheed Martin to develop a supersonic “X-plane.”