In a speech named “A Smart Financial Center”, Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, (MAS) announced plans to commit SGD $225 million ($167 million) over the next five years to support fintech innovation. Called the Financial Sector Technology & Innovation (FTSI), the scheme will be providing funds for three programs; innovation centers, institutional level projects and industry wide projects.
The backing of innovation centers is a means of attracting financial firms to develop R&D centers in Singapore. According to Menon, current firms with R&D centers on the island include Deutsche Bank, UBS, Metlife, Citibank and Credit Suisse. In addition to those firms, Menon stated that other companies “are in the pipeline” with their developments to open technology centers.
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With availability of funding from the FTSI scheme, the MAS’s goal is that other financial firms will be enticed to devote part of their financial technology development resources in Singapore. As reference for the FTSI, a similar plan launched in Israel over four years ago, led Citibank, Barclays and JPMorgan to create R&D centers in the country with subsidies from the government.
Within Singapore, the FTSI continues a trend of the government supporting fintech related projects. During June, the Singapore Exchange revealed plans of the coming launch of CapBridge, a crowdfunding platform to assist SMEs to gain access to funding. In addition, the country has had an accommodating approach to governing bitcoins, with the MAS being one of the world’s first regulators to issue any financial or tax related guidelines for cryptocurrencies.