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Singapore FinTech Festival 2019: Re-Imagining FinTech, Sustainability, Awards, and More

Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) 2019 kept the eyes and ears of global financial services executives wide open from November 11–15. Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), launched the fourth edition of the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF), and the first combined edition of SFF and the Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology (SWITCH). He announced that a record-setting 60,000 participants from more than 130 countries were represented at this year’s SFF x SWITCH. Spanning six halls and hosting over 1,000 exhibitors, the event aimed to be the largest FinTech event in the world.

The FinTech industry is evolving, and so is its role in the financial services ecosystem. Menon also said that FinTech must serve a larger purpose. This is about innovation, inclusion, and inspiration. This year, the conference combines the theme of sustainability with FinTech to focus on how technology can be harnessed to create a greener financial system. The opening talks for this year’s SFF was on sustainability and how FinTech has a larger purpose of ‘greening’ the world. Four years ago, the MAS started working closely with financial institutions (FIs) and FinTech companies to develop a strong ecosystem of collaboration and innovation. The main goal of this collaboration was to increase efficiency, reduce risk, create opportunities, and improve people’s lives. 

Some of the achievements over the years include:

  • From less than 50 startups in 2015 to over 600 now
  • Less than 5 to over 40 innovation labs
  • Creation of over 1,100 FinTech jobs each year
  • More than S$1 billion investments in FinTech companies

Menon added that innovation is an ongoing effort, and the ecosystem must continue to experiment, learn from mistakes, and keep improving. All partners must stay hungry, challenge themselves, and find new ways of doing business as well as new practices to delight customers. 

The next phase of ‘Re-imagining FinTech’

Digital Infrastructure: The Singapore Stack of digital infrastructure includes Identity, Data, Consent, and Payments such as:

  • National digital identity 
  • MyInfo 
  • PayNow 
  • Project Ubin 

Innovation: With APIX, FIs now get instant access to a global FinTech marketplace, their own secured sandbox, and on-demand IT infrastructure in over 26 countries. 

Collaboration: Business sans Borders (BSB) is an open and global connector of platforms that uses artificial intelligence (AI) for the discovery of fair prices, open connectivity to supply chain networks, and a marketplace for SME digital solutions enabling seamless trade without barriers.

Regulations: A regulatory sandbox is used to facilitate experimentation with defining boundary conditions. Lowered costs and a suspension of regulations during the testing period help foster nimber experimentation in a safer environment.

Financing: The FinTech Research Platform is a comprehensive view of FinTech companies, with access to trusted business profile data and visual comparison of companies with similar profiles developed by Deloitte, S&P Global, and the MAS. Deal Fridays is an efficient matching tool that is thematically curated and has access to investor networks for connectivity and increasing startups’ access to global capital.

Green Investment Program

Sustainable financing has been a key topic of discussion at SFF 2019. This week, the MAS announced that it has set up a 2-billion-dollar (USD) green investment program (GIP) to invest in public market investment strategies that have a strong, green focus. This will help to support the Singapore financial center in promoting environmentally sustainable projects and mitigating climate change risks in Singapore and the region. The GIP is a major prong of the green finance action plan announced by Mr. Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education – Singapore and Board Member at MAS, at the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) 2019 x Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH). The GIP aims to foster the growth of a diverse and robust ecosystem of green financing capabilities in Singapore.

Awards

Earlier this week, the MAS announced the three winners of the Global FinTech Hackcelerator. The MAS and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) also announced the 12 winners of the FinTech Awards. Both awards were handed out at the Singapore FinTech Festival 2019 x Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SFF x SWITCH).

The winners of the Global FinTech Hackcelerator, supported by KPMG Digital Village, were selected through the Global FinTech Hackcelerator Demo Day, where they had pitched their innovations to an industry panel of judges. The top three teams were Pula Advisors GmbH, Arthance LLC, and MindBridge Analytics Inc.

The winners of the FinTech Awards, supported by PwC Singapore, were selected from a total of 245 submissions from over 30 countries. The 12 winners were selected under four categories – Singapore Founder, ASEAN SME, ASEAN Open, and Global – by an international panel comprising industry experts across multiple domains. Three of this year’s winning solutions were returning finalists from 2018's FinTech Awards. 

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