Earlier this year, Singapore announced that is has become the center of FinTech with supporting units from various sectors. In China, FinTech is driven by large, non-bank enterprises while Singapore’s FinTech industry is driven by the government and banks. Development has been actively ongoing as FinTech is closely related to government regulations, thus, official authorities have significantly supported and propelled FinTech. The Monetary Authority of Singapore or MAS often makes headlines with projects that encourage students and researchers to make ideas become a business reality with the National Research Foundation or NRF. Moreover, MAS started the Financial Technology (FinTech) Office that exclusively assists FinTech startups. Let us have a look at what makes Singapore become one of the world’s destinations for FinTech.
Support from the MAS
Financial institutions in Singapore is monitored by the MAS. The MAS sets financial policies and promotes Singapore’s economy. Recently, MAS assisted FinTech development with core action plans as follow:
Create a market platform entirely for investment. This platform enhances the connection between companies and prospect investors, similar to the recent program launched by the London Stock Exchange. This gives Asian companies better access to the global investor network. Moreover, certain policies are adjusted to better support entrepreneurs and innovation such as lessening the company registration approval process from more than a week to within an hour.
Establish an Asian-scale financial infrastructure. MAS together with MDB (Multilateral Development Banks) seeks to financially support innovation and technology projects by providing sufficient funds for national-level expansions.
Centralize Blockchain. MAS aims for the platform to support related technology so cross-sector tasks are facilitated.
Launch the Regulatory Sandbox. In June, MAS revealed a draft contract to build a sandbox for startups to explore their product under the scrutiny of the MAS. MAS increased flexibility and lessen limitations so startups can fully develop. This is good news for FinTech startups that are normally engaged with government regulations. Therefore, a sandbox takes away redundant procedures and speeds up growth.
MAS hosted a global FinTech event, the Singapore Fintech Festival. Aside from FinTech startups, leading banks also attended the event. This year, the event involved seminars, workshops, and open house from over 20 leading Financial and Technology firms in Singapore such as Accenture, Microsoft, Oracle, OCBD, UOB, and DBS.
FinTech programs for leading banks in Singapore
Aside from the government sector, banks also welcome technology to the industry. Doors are open by the collaboration between banks and startups with examples as follow:
DBS launched the DBS Accelerator program which highlights collaborations between FinTech and banks. These are chances for Asian and global innovators to enter the digital transformation landscape. DBS Accelerator continuously nurtures startups while participants enjoy working with banks in areas focusing on risk management for banks, increasing customer digital journey, cryptocurrencies, the blockchain, and cybersecurity.
OCBC – The Open Vault at OCBC is the innovation center established by OCBC bank in Singapore. It supports startups to innovate marketable products and services for banks. This center joined with Venture Capital firm, Nest, and focuses on 5 core aspects: security management, credit and finance, insurance, cybersecurity, and AI or Artificial Intelligence.
Outstanding FinTech startups in Singapore
FinTech startups in Singapore are well established and provide a variety of services. Here are some outstanding samples.
Dragon Wealth is a retail investment application for financial consultants. It seeks to resolve problems concerning financial institutions and wealth management. Services include cloud solution with in-depth information for users. Dragon Wealth qualified for the Startup Boot Camp Singapore program.
CODA PAY provides a regional payment gateway service as the platform is regionally linked. It accepts payments in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore. Its payment service is also available for customers that may not hold a credit or debit card. Codapay received funding from several investors such as the Golden Gate Ventures and Rakuten.
Active.ai is a platform that connects consumers and banks via short conversations. This is processed through different channels using AI for financial services.
Singapore is a neighbor that often has exciting FinTech updates. Next time, we will be sharing about another FinTech leader in the region which is Hong Kong. We will discuss the FinTech landscape in Hong Kong and how it has developed. Moreover, we will bring you updates from a world-class event like the FinTech Festival Singapore held during November 13-17, 2017. Follow us on the DV blog or on the Digital Ventures Facebook page.