Singapore fast-tracks the FinTech space

By Nicholas Hanna and Samantha See

Increasingly, early stage start-ups and FinTech businesses are seeing incentives in Singapore as an attractive location to set up shop. Innovative policies to kick start businesses and commerce in Singapore have been developing for the last two years. The increase in FinTech investment coupled with the ramifications of Brexit has now seen a trend of British businesses migrating to Singapore. For example, Aviva, the British insurer, created its second “digital garage” in Singapore. The Chairman of Aviva’s Asian business and head of its digital business has named both London and Singapore FinTech Hubs. He also noted that Singapore is fast-tracking the FinTech sector with innovations such as allowing financial institutions to use cloud infrastructure, helping start-ups to compete with incumbents and giving permission for all insurance products to be sold online.

Furthermore, with over 11,000 attendees from 50 countries at Singapore’s inaugural FinTech Festival in late 2016, the event was considered the biggest of its kind in the world. The event drew four times as many people as a similar event in Hong Kong, a week earlier. A 2016 Ernst & Young study ranked Singapore 4th among global FinTech hubs, overtaking Hong Kong which was ranked at 7th place. The report also highlighted that Singapore was the preferred gateway into Asia because of its “increasingly progressive regulatory regime”. Singapore’s progressive policy initiatives like the launch of the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme are seen as examples of how Singapore is closing the gap with the UK despite the UK being a first mover in implementing policy initiatives. This scheme provides support for the creation of a vibrant ecosystem for innovation and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) has committed S$225 million to innovation centres, institutional-level projects and industry-wide initiatives. It looks like UK will need to continue to work hard to maintain its world-leading position.

Therefore, with the continuous support of the MAS, Singapore’s conducive environment for innovation makes itself a key player and possibly, a leader in the FinTech space in the near future.

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