Progressive Approach to Embracing Digital Finance is Key to Labuan IBFC’s Growth in Financial Innovation

Asia Blockchain Review
December 14, 2019

The centre has a ready-made “toolbox” of solutions to meet industry needs 

Kuala Lumpur, 12 December 2019 – At the inaugural Connecting Digital Ecosystems in Asia 2019 (CoDE Asia 2019) conference in Kuala Lumpur today, Labuan Financial Services Authority (Labuan FSA) Director-General Danial Mah Abdullah said, “Labuan International Business and Financial Centre’s (Labuan IBFC’s) “digital family” continues to grow in recognition of the progressive approach the centre has taken in embracing the digital revolution by being as facilitative as possible to enable innovative digital business to take root in Labuan.” 

Mah added, “To this extent, the centre has used legacy licenses like money broker, credit token licenses to provide the regulatory umbrella for the digital business to be carried out.  Now that is innovation by itself. Thus, the centre has a “toolbox” of solutions to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding digital industry, whether from the supply or demand side.”

Labuan FSA Director-General, Danial Mah Abdullah giving the opening speech at today’s CoDE Asia 2019 event in Kuala Lumpur.

He went on to add that the digital business model must be legitimate, meeting international standards of compliance, transparency, and prudential requirements. Thus, prospective entrepreneurs would need to obtain Labuan FSA’s prior approval for any proposed digital business if the activities fall within the ambit of the Labuan Financial Services Securities Act 2010 or Labuan Islamic Financial Services Securities Act 2010. 

Labuan IBFC’s digital journey began in 2017, with eight licenses up to 2018, and 2019 has seen exponential growth in the number of players at the centre, with more than 30 licenses approved to operate as digital entities. These businesses range from financial services such as digital banking and insurtech to digital intermediaries such as robo-advisory, digital asset exchanges, crypto trading platforms, blockchain tokens, and e-payment systems.

“Our bespoke and curated approach is an ideal match to the demands of a fast-evolving digital marketplace,” said Farah Jaafar-Crossby, CEO of Labuan IBFC Inc, the jurisdiction’s market development agency. She added that Labuan IBFC’s tax neutrality and currency agnosticism adds to its appeal as a digital hub, especially since the digital marketplace is inherently borderless in its application. 

(First from right) Farah Jaafar-Crossby, Labuan IBFC Inc CEO moderating a panel session at the CoDE Asia 2019 forum today in Kuala Lumpur.

“We have seen a significant increase in interest of our digital “toolbox” from regional and also international entities,” she said, citing Memoranda of Understanding signed between Labuan IBFC Inc and China Construction Bank, Labuan as well as Huobi Group of China, both in relation to the advancement and development of Labuan IBFC’s digital ecosystem. 

She added that the fast-growing ecosystem in the jurisdiction had also prompted the establishment of an industry-led Labuan Fintech Association, which is open to any party interested in participating and contributing to Labuan IBFC’s growing “digital family”. 

Labuan IBFC, which will celebrate its 30th year of establishment in 2020, is home to more than 6,000 active companies including top-ranking financial institutions comprising 55 banks, 217 insurance companies, 61 corporate service providers, more than 300 leasing companies, and 43 commodity trading companies. Labuan IBFC entities collectively employ more than 6,000 people, making the IBFC the largest employer of any industry in Labuan.   

The Connecting Digital Ecosystems in Asia 2019 (CoDE Asia 2019) conference was attended by more than 250 delegates and featured a lineup of regional industry players and experts, discussing topics in developing a holistic digital ecosystem in the region. For more information on Labuan IBFC and its offerings, log on to



Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC), Malaysia, through our internationally recognized yet business-friendly legal framework, is the preferred international business and financial centre in Asia. Established in 1990, Labuan IBFC is regulated by the Labuan Financial Services Authority (Labuan FSA), the statutory regulator under the purview of the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia.

As a mid-shore jurisdiction, we offer global investors and businesses the benefits of being in a well-regulated and supervised jurisdiction that adheres to international standards of compliance in tax transparency. We also provide fiscal neutrality and certainty in a currency-neutral operating environment. Labuan IBFC, located in the centre of Asia, boasts a cost-efficient, enabling environment, making it an ideal location for product creation for both global businesses looking at penetrating Asia or Asian entities aiming to go global.

Labuan IBFC offers a wide range of business structures and investment solutions catered to cross-border transactions and international business dealings, including fintech-related solutions. We also provide services and solutions in niches such as risk management, commodity trading, reinsurance, wealth management, international business companies, and Islamic financial services. Operating with clear and comprehensive legal provisions, guidelines, and practice notes enforced by a single regulator, Labuan FSA, Labuan IBFC provides an ideal jurisdiction for both corporates and high-net-worth individuals with international exposure.

To keep up with everything about Labuan IBFC, follow us on Twitter or @LabuanIBFC. Alternatively, visit

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