Industry Stakeholders Team Up To Boost Malaysia’s Fintech Sectorby Fintechnews Singapore October 25, 2016
A new association has been formed earlier this month in Malaysia to represent the fintech scene and push the country into becoming a leading hub. This followed a set of initiatives that have been launched in Malaysia in recent months with an aim to foster the nation’s fintech sector.
Initiated by a group of entrepreneurs, founders, enthusiasts, community leaders and government agencies, Fintech Association of Malaysia (FAOM) aspires to be the key enabler and a national platform for fintech. The organization said it will help facilitate collaboration between fintech stakeholders in Malaysia, build awareness and trust in fintech startups, and advocate the government for better policy for the industry.
New player Finnext Capital, a consulting firm, was founded earlier this year by some of the key individuals behind Next Money KL, a leading fintech community in Malaysia. Apart from advising startups and corporates, Finnext Capital also operates an accelerator program for fintech and Internet-of-Things startups.
The Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator 5-month program, a collaborative effort between government, corporates, entrepreneurs and VCs, aims at accelerating and nurturing the country’s top startups. It provides selected startups with free office space in Cyberjaya, Malaysia leading ICT hub, mentorship with top entrepreneurs, founders and corporates, and the opportunity to sign strategic partnerships with businesses and government agencies.
Alongside the private sector, the public sector as well has committed to help nurture a dynamic and burgeoning industry. Last week, Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), set up a fintech sandbox framework to allow startups to experiment with new products and services in a safe environment. The sandbox is open to firms looking to test out innovations that improve the accessibility, efficiency, security and quality of financial services.
The framework was launched following a month-long consultation during which the authority received over 60 comments and suggestions from startups, banks and other stakeholders.
“The Framework reflects the Bank’s long standing policy in striking an optimal balance between promoting innovation whilst preserving financial stability and protecting consumer interest,” said Aznan Abdul Aziz, chairman, financial technology enabler group in a media statement.
This echoed a previous speech by Dato’ Muhammad Bin Ibrahim, the current governor of the central bank of Malaysia, who highlighted the authority’s commitment to developing the fintech ecosystem, telling the audience at GIFF 5.0 in May:
“Fintech is challenging the status quo of the financial industry. New business models will emerge. Delivery channels will challenge existing norms. Transaction costs will be reduced. Rather than looking at the fintech revolution as unwelcoming, financial institutions ought to embrace it as an opportunity.”
In June, BNM established the Financial Technology Enabler Group (FTEG), a cross-functional group acting as a focal point on fintech related queries such as regulation matters and the adoption of fintech by financial services institutions.
Although Malaysia’s fintech sector is still at a very early stage compared with the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong, the nation has nevertheless a number of notable startups. These include:
Soft Space operates in the mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) space, enabling small and middle sized retailers to accept all forms of payments with a mobile phone. Founded in Kuala Lumpur in 2012, Soft Space has grown to become one of the leading mPOS providers in Southeast Asia, present in 13 banks across Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.
Katsana has developed a GPS solution intended to disrupt the motor insurance industry by enabling in-depth analysis of driver behaviors, scoring them according to risk profile, and brings tangible rewards to good vehicle owners. Katsana does so by installing tracking devices onto vehicles and crunching real-time vehicle data.
Skolafund is an online platform for students to crowdfund their scholarships for higher education. Students can organize 30-day campaigns on the platform with a target funding amount. Skolafund verifies students’ applications and launches the approved campaigns.
iMoney.my is a personal finance platform that helps users compare loans, credit cards and other banking services for free. Through the platform, users can browse, compare and apply for products. It is owned by iMoney Group, a financial services and referral business that operates a network of financial comparison websites across Southeast Asia including AturDuit in Indonesia.
CurrenSeek is a mobile app that helps travelers compare and locate money exchangers with the best exchange rates. Through the app, tourists can also see updated, real-time information on current exchange rates as well as locate the outlets close to them.
Featured image: The Kuala Lumpur city skyline by Jason Ho, via Shutterstock.com.