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A Short Guide to FinTech in Singapore

Despite being a relatively new sector, Financial Technology or FinTech continues to gain a foothold in many countries and has become more and more popular. Singapore is not immune to FinTech’s charms and innovations. As an alternative to traditional financial institutions, FinTech can provide efficient and practical solutions for financial problems, ranging from the need for quick and simple loans, financial product comparisons, and alternative investments.

FinTechs in Singapore are also getting support by the government through the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). FinTech frameworks and regulations have recently been implemented to help Singapore SMEs grow and raise SME involvement in contributing national gross domestic product and employment.

Progressive Regulation

The FinTech sector grows swiftly when supported with favorable regulations. MAS has shown approval for FinTech. Events such as the recent inaugural Singapore Fintech Festival was organized by MAS in partnership with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) prove it.

Financial technology is also seen as an integral part of Singapore’s ambition to be a Smart Nation, especially as financial products and services of the future will very likely be innovations made by the FinTech sector. Sopnendu Mohanty, MAS’ chief fintech officer, has said that MAS has allocated S$225 million over the next five years to support the development of FinTech projects. Additionally, at an educational level, MAS is collaborating with five local polytechnics to shape the curriculum for FinTech. It even facilitates internship opportunities for final year students at relevant financial and regulatory institutions as well as start-ups and joint projects with partners within the FinTech global community.

Moreover, despite the stereotype that FinTech is a disruptive threat to banks, banks are starting to see that partnering with local FinTechs are beneficial for both parties. In fact, doing so can widen the reach of their audience.

Support for Fintech Innovation

In August 2016, MAS established Looking Glass – a FinTech Innovation Lab. Its main purpose is to serve as a platform for the FinTech community. With Looking Glass, institutions, start-ups, and technology vendors can experiment with FinTech solutions. Consultations for FinTech start-ups in areas such as regulation and legal matters will be more easily facilitated. Finally, Looking Glass provides a training and networking venue.

FinTech in Singapore has grown leaps and bounds, and with strong backing from both the government and the existing ecosystems, the FinTech sector will continue to grow. This is good news for everyone, as the financial solutions provided by FinTech will benefit Singapore businesses.

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