The 8th edition of the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) has this week played host to heads of state, policymakers, financial services leaders, founders, investors and technology experts from across the globe.
We bring you a roundup of notable industry updates announced at this year’s three-day conference at the Singapore EXPO.
MYbank, an internet bank in China and an associate of Ant Group, showcased digital solutions with the goal of improving accessibility to financial services for small and micro-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the agricultural sector.
The showcased solutions included Tomtit for rural finance, Goose for supply chain finance, and Lark for automated credit line management – all specifically designed to assist SMEs in overcoming financing barriers and enhance the accessibility of financial services for MYbank’s 50 million SME clients.
Achieving financial wellness
A new feature was launched by Dobin, a fintech committed to helping people achieve financial wellness, called Financial Insights. Amid the current cost-of-living crisis, Financial Insights serves to give Singaporeans the tools and insights they need to thrive in the current economy.
Research from Rakuten Insight shows that 60 per cent of respondents are cautious about expenses due to inflation. In response to this, Financial Insights looks to address financial challenges users may face amid rising costs, including the ability to keep track of utility bills, financial charges and other recurring payments. All in addition to monitoring all transactions.
Robo-advice in retail investment
During the event, Bambu, the digital wealthtech provider expanded its arsenal of services, announcing its SaaS-based robo-advisor, called Bambu GO. It provides financial advisors, banks, brokerages, insurers and more with an advisor that caters to mass retail investors.
The feature assists financial institutions in launching and managing their digital wealth platforms offering customisation options through its integration with WealthKernel, the digital investment infrastructure provider. Furthermore, Bambu GO enables institutions to create a robo-advisor that can help them achieve their own goals all the while making it easier for firms to acquire customers and expand their client base.
Transforming digital payments
Visa, the payment juggernaut, presented its cohort from the Asia Pacific Visa Accelerator Program 2023. Comprising seven startups, these innovators have harnessed Visa’s mentorship, resources and global network over six months as they work towards redefining the landscape of digital payments.
The seven startups were selected for the 2023 cohort earlier in May 2023.They were:
- Dowsure (Mainland China)
- Doxa Holdings (Singapore)
- Kadmos (Germany)
- Pi-xcels (Singapore)
- Playbux (Thailand)
- Transpure (India)
- Twid (India)
Showcasing a one-stop financial service system
Additionally, LianLian Global, a subsidiary of paytech LianLian DigitTech, showcased its one-stop financial service system at the Singapore Fintech Festival. It showed off its suite of essential functionalities which include cross-border funds collection, a LianLian virtual card, global acquiring and cross-border payment facility.
LianLian also engaged in discussions about new possibilities in the fields of fintech and financial services with global partners.
The digital competitive champ
Taiwan fintech hub FinTechSpace, set up in the Taiwan Pavilion at SFF, where it reflected on Taiwan’s technological innovation in the global fintech market. From FinTechSpace joining forces with the Asian Silicon Valley to assemble a Taiwanese exhibition overseas, to unveiling innovation and collaboration, the country has quickly accelerated its fintech capabilities.
According to the 2023 IMD Competitiveness Yearbook, Taiwan claims the top spot in Digital Competitiveness among economies with populations exceeding 20 million.
World cup fintech fever
Dubai FinTech Summit, organised by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the global financial hub in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region launched the FinTech World Cup (FWC). The inaugural pitch competition was held at the DIFC Booth.
Furthermore, startups who qualify for the FinTech World Cup final are eligible to secure up to $1million in funding. The final will take place during the Dubai FinTech Summit organised by DIFC on 6-7 May 2024.
The age of CBDCs is here
Managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Ravi Menon announced that the central bank will “pilot the live issuance of wholesale CBDCs to instantaneously support payments across commercial banks”.
A variety of partnerships will be established with local banks to test the capabilities of wholesale CBDCs when used as domestic payments.
HSBC collaborates with Antler
HSBC Singapore revealed a collaboration with Antler, the early-stage venture capital firm, to facilitate the growth of Southeast Asian innovation companies and entrepreneurs based in Singapore.
This collaboration aims to provide startups and founders that are a part of Antler’s network access to financial expertise and banking solutions such as preferred business banking accounts, venture debt and working capital facilities designed to support their needs and enable their growth and future expansion.
As a result of the collaboration, all of Antler’s existing Singapore-based portfolio companies and founders will have access to HSBC’s products and services. Entrepreneurs will also gain significant internationalisation benefits.
Launch of cross-border QR payments linkage between Indonesia and Singapore
At SFF 2023, Bank Indonesia (BI) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) launched the cross-border quick response (QR) payment linkage between Indonesia and Singapore.
This linkage enables customers of participating financial institutions to make seamless cross-border retail payments using their existing mobile banking applications to scan QRIS (Quick Response Code Indonesian Standard) or NETS QR codes displayed by merchants in Indonesia and Singapore respectively.
BI and MAS have also agreed to establish a local currency settlement framework. When operationalised in 2024, the framework will facilitate the settlement of cross-border payments, including QR payments, trade and investments between Indonesia and Singapore in their respective local currencies.
Launch of Cross-border Real-time Payment Systems
MAS also joined forces with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to jointly launch the real-time payment systems linkage between Singapore’s PayNow and Malaysia’s DuitNow.
Users can transfer funds instantly between the two countries by using just the recipient’s mobile phone number or Virtual Payment Address (VPA).
Ravi Menon, managing director at MAs, commented: “The PayNow-DuitNow linkage is the culmination of a shared aspiration by Singapore and Malaysia to facilitate cross-border payments between the two countries. This linkage represents another step towards ASEAN’s vision for regional payments interconnectivity.”