Singapore, the hub for fintech in Southeast Asia, has witnessed considerable development in the space in recent years, fueled by regulatory support from the government, a large pool of major banks looking to partner with fintechs, and a myriad of accelerators and incubators to choose from.
To help you keep up with the rapidly evolving fintech industry in Singapore, here are some of the key accomplishments and announcements of the first half of 2018:
First fintech to be listed on Singapore exchange
German fintech firm Ayondo launched its stock on the Singapore Stock Exchange’s Catalist Board in March, making it the first fintech company to be listed in the city-state.
Founded in 2008, Ayondo specializes in trading and investment solutions for retail and institutional customers. The solutions combine trading with elements of social media, offering an alternative way to invest through social trading, a community-powered concept. Ayondo is based in Frankfurt with offices in the UK, Switzerland, Spain and the UK.
In the last two years, the fintech sector has fueled nearly one-quarter of new jobs in Singapore’s financial sector.
Singapore saw a net increase of 7,800 jobs in financial services and fintech over 2016 and 2017, Ravi Menon, head of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said in a recent speech. Fintech alone is estimated to have contributed close to 2,000 of the net jobs created during these two years.
This is close to MAS’ target of 8,000 jobs, which the authority has set out to reach by the end of its five-year financial services Industry Transformation Map (ITM). Under the plan, the government hopes to create close to 3,000 net jobs in financial services and 1,000 jobs in fintech every year.
The first half of 2018 was marked by several collaborations and partnerships between Singapore and other jurisdictions. These are aimed at bridging fintech ecosystems between Singapore and other parts of the world.
Another fintech partnership is the deal between the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) and the Fintech Association of Japan (FAJ) announced in March. The partnership aims to foster greater fintech cooperation between the two countries and will be used to raise the profile of the Japanese fintech industry, and promote Singapore as a destination for Japanese businesses within Asia.
At the government level, a partnership was signed earlier this month between three government agencies from India and Singapore to boost cooperation in financial innovation, in particular on the cross-border payments front. India’s Department of Economic Affairs, the government of India, and MAS will establish a joint working group.
MAS has also formed three new partnerships in recent months: with the State Bank of Vietnam, the Central Bank of Egypt, and the Bank of Lithuania. MAS has signed numerous bilateral fintech agreements with many different jurisdictions including Hong Kong, Australia, and the UK, among many others. These are aimed at encouraging fintech innovation and strengthening cooperation.
According to Bob Contri, Deloitte global leader, financial services industry, Singapore’s MAS has signed more fintech cooperation agreements than other regulatory bodies in the world.
Launch of the “Fintech Fast Track” to accelerate patent application
To support the growth of Singapore’s fintech sector and help businesses bring their fintech innovations to the market more rapidly, the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) launched in April the Fintech Fast Track initiative which provides expedited patent application-to-grant process for fintech inventions.
Under this initiative, fintech patents can be expected to be granted in as quickly as six months, compared to at least two years for normal applications.
The IPOS said the initiative will complement MAS’ S$225 million Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) funding scheme which is designed to boost fintech development in Singapore.
3rd edition of Singapore Fintech Festival to focus on ASEAN
The 3rd edition of the Singapore Fintech Festival, which will take place from November 12 to 16 this year, will focus on fintech developments and opportunities in the nations forming ASEAN and will showcase innovative solutions from these countries, the organizers of the event from MAS unveiled in May.
The annual festival comes as Singapore is holding the chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, more commonly known as ASEAN. It is a 10-member international body that represents more than 640 million people, and the fifth largest economy in the world. Members are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
To that end, the week-long event will feature a new segment called MATCH to facilitate deal-making. It will showcase next-generation ASEAN startups and enterprises across all sectors, and help to connect them with potential investors.
The categories for the fintech awards have also been revised to allow for more participation from ASEAN countries. In particular, a PitchFest component will be held across ASEAN countries, where promising fintech companies will pitch their implemented solutions.
Featured image: Singapore skyline, by Nicolas Lannuzel, via Flickr.