SINGAPORE: The Republic's first FinTech (financial technology) Festival will be held this November, even as the country ramps up its efforts to highlight the attractiveness of the eco-system here.
The Singapore FinTech Festival will be held from Nov 14 to Nov 18, and will be organised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS). MAS said in its press release on Wednesday (Apr 13) that the Festival is the first such event in Asia.
MAS said there are three components to the Festival: The Global FinTech Hackcelerator, the MAS FinTech Awards, and conference and events.
For the Hackcelerator, the global FinTech community will be invited to co-create solutions to specific problems or challenges solicited from the financial industry this May, MAS said. Up to 20 teams will be selected and these teams will present their completed solutions at the Festival.
Innovative solutions that have been implemented by FinTech start-ups, financial institutions and tech companies will also be recognised at the MAS FinTech Awards.
Deputy Prime Minister and MAS Chairman Tharman Shanmugaratnam launched the Festival at a roadshow in New York City on Wednesday. The US city is the first in a series of global outreach initiatives Singapore's central bank is conducting to draw the attention of the global FinTech community to the possibilities for innovation and collaboration on offer here, the press release said.
FINTECH SECTOR "SHOWS GREAT PROMISE": THARMAN
In his speech, Mr Tharman affirmed Singapore's stake in the advancing FinTech sector.
He said: "What we are trying to do is to push the envelope. We are trying to find new ways of doing the financial business, every area of business, in a way that makes more sense to the customer, a borrower, a lender, a middle-class saver, someone who’s making payments, someone who’s receiving payments."
He added that with digitisation taking place across global industries, it is more timely than ever for banks to engage proactively with technology.
"We are at the cusp of a new wave in finance that is I think very promising. There's no assurance it’s going to succeed, but it shows great promise - promise of delivering better value to the customer. That’s really what we’re trying to achieve in FinTech," said Mr Tharman.
For those concerned with how to regulate a digital infrastructure, Digital Assets Holdings' chief executive officer, Blythe Masters, said that existing regulation is a good starting place. “You need some modicum of standards and common understanding to proliferate and to prevail so that multiple parties can begin to adopt and in that case, there’s clearly a role for the Government.”
Mr Ravi Menon, the managing director of MAS, said that competition in the sector could be a plus point for innovation.
“Competition spurs, provides incentive and the impetus to do better, to stay ahead, to survive, and that is often the mother of invention and innovation," he said.