1. Welcome to the ISCA-ICAEW “Fintech Innovation: Perspectives from Singapore and London” publication launch, jointly organised by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
2. We hope that today’s event will provide another platform for stimulating interaction and networking. I understand that we have amongst us, business leaders of start-ups, technology companies, venture capitalists, financial institutions, regulator and finance professionals in this vibrant fintech hub.
3. The pace of change in the business world today is astonishing. New trends are continuously re-shaping business and even creating new business models. To continue our role as valued business partners, the accountancy profession needs to keep abreast of the latest trends. With exciting fintech developments underway, the publication explores the implications for the accountancy profession and encourages the profession to act on the opportunities, such as advising fintech start-ups on financial matters, as well as helping them to make sense of the regulatory and tax requirements.
Overview of Fintech Landscape
4. The fintech sector has been fast-growing, with global investment almost doubling to US$38.9bn between 2014 and 2017. With vast opportunities presented in this sector, it is no surprise that many countries set their sight on being a centre of fintech innovation.
5. Research has consistently placed London and Singapore as excellent hubs for fintech activity. In 2017, UK took the lead in Europe with over US$16bn in total fintech investment and Singapore’s fintech funding hit a record high of US$229m.
6. What are the strengths and challenges of Singapore and London as leading fintech hubs? What drives successful fintech innovation? This morning, we are pleased to launch the publication which seeks to address these questions.
7. As the publication’s findings highlighted, no hub can operate in isolation. It is imperative for hubs to have strong links with other hubs. As leading fintech hubs, Singapore and London recognise the need for fintech hubs to collaborate.
8. In September 2018, United Kingdom (UK) and Singapore jointly held its 4th UK-Singapore Financial Dialogue where both countries agreed towards raising the profile of the existing UK-Singapore FinTech Bridge and measures that will support FinTech firms looking to operate across both markets.
9. In 2018, Singapore strengthened cooperation in fintech with countries such as India, China, Brunei, Vietnam and most recently, Indonesia.
10. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has also been working on a collaborative project with the industry to explore the use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for clearing and settlement of payments and securities, titled “Project Ubin”. This is a great example of a progressive regulator that is bold in experimenting how it could better understand the technology and the potential benefits the technology may bring through practical experimentation.
11. As highlighted in the publication, progressive regulators and regulation are needed to support experimentation in the early stages of fintech businesses, build trust, manage risks and encourage growth. This will encourage innovation and at the same time, help innovators understand the regulatory environment.
12. In closing, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our distinguished speakers, roundtable panellists, interviewees and today’s panel for taking time to contribute their views and experiences, which have greatly enriched today’s publication launch.
13. I hope that you will enjoy today’s vibrant discussion. Thank you.