Year to date activity
The first quarter of 2017 was a slow quarter for fintech investment in Singapore, with a total of four deals at US$14.3 million, according to KPMG.
Although marked considerably by outliers, the Singapore fintech scene still enjoys hefty comparative advantages within the region as a whole, ranging from regulatory aspects to geographic positioning and talent access.
MAS is aggressively promoting and marketing Singapore as a fintech hub for the Asia market – working with startups and global corporates to develop and fund fintech activities, and with numerous international regulators to bridge regulatory barriers.
(Fintech Global Summit 2017 at LATTICE80)
Over the next few quarters, AI is expected to gain traction in Singapore, particularly on the digital labour front due to the country’s small size. Machine learning, compliance, financial inclusion and robo-advisory are also expected to attract more attention.
According to PwC’s Global Fintech Report 2017:
- 80% of financial institutions (FIs) surveyed are concerned about losing revenue to innovators
- 95% of FIs surveyed will increase internal efforts to innovate
- 89% of respondents (from both FIs and fintech companies) expect to increase fintech partnerships in the next 3 to 5 years
- FinTech solutions are expected to evolve beyond low-value and high-volume transactions to address more advanced and complex needs of targeted client groups (e.g. in asset and wealth management)
- More industry players in Singapore see fintech as an opportunity to differentiate their services and gain a stronger competitive advantage than their global peers
- Regulatory uncertainty emerged as a major challenge faced by respondents from both FIs and fintech companies when working with one another
PwC’s report adds that to address regulatory challenges, MAS is at the forefront by working with the industry through its Regulatory Sandbox so that new technologies can be experimented while minimising risks to consumers.
Additionally, a national KYC Utility is being piloted to streamline the verification of personal details for opening accounts and conducting transactions online.
To keep track of all of Singapore’s fintech startups, the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) launched an online directory in July 2017. The database, aggregated by MEDICI through secondary research and analysis, contains a short description of each company and information on its founding team, funding status, and business model.
Data compiled by Marvelstone Group (from sources including SFA and CrunchBase) find a total of 326 fintech startups in Singapore across the following categories:
- Investment platforms (16%)
- Payments (14%)
- Big Data & Analytics (7%)
- InsurTech (7%)
- B2B Fintech (7%)
- Personal Finance Management (6%)
- Lending (6%)
- RegTech (5%)
- Blockchain (5%)
- AI (5%)
- Remittances (4%)
- BankingTech (4%)
- Cryptocurrency (4%)
- Online Funding (3%)
- Others (2%)
- Prepaid Cards (1%)
- Security (1%)