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Singapore is rushing to reinvent itself as Asia's financial technology, or fintech, hub to fend off a regulatory threat to its wealth management industry and revive a sluggish economy.

State funding, light-touch regulation and a recent move to allow start-ups to test financial products in a controlled environment have put Singapore ahead of rival Hong Kong to be Asia's fintech hotspot.

A KPMG report said Singapore has been more aggressive in pursuing fintech opportunities, and tryb noted that all but a dozen of the around 210 fintech firms operating in Singapore have opened in the past two years - the fastest growth rate in Asia.

With Moody's expecting Singapore's economy to grow at its slowest pace since the global financial crisis, government officials are keen to engage with new industries.

In Singapore, any entity can operate payment systems and e-wallets without seeking approval, while rules introduced in Hong Kong last year require firms to have a licence for Stored Value Facilities, or a prepaid electronic cash or card.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon said fintech firms would only be regulated when they grow large enough to pose a risk to the traditional financial system.

Full article is published on The Business Times on 04/07/2016.

AH

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