Fintech Market Overview

This article does not constitute legal advice.

Fintech in Singapore

Fintech Software

Various grants, schemes and initiatives are available to support fintech innovation or fintech entities, such as:

  1. the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme 2.0, pursuant to which MAS has committed S$250 million over a three-year period to speed up technology adoption and innovation growth in the local financial sector, by supporting large-scale innovation projects and to build a stronger pipeline of Singapore talent in fintech;
  2. Startup SG Accelerator, Startup SG Equity, Startup SG Founder and Startup SG Talent (all operated by Enterprise Singapore), which are schemes that provide the Singapore tech start-up ecosystem with government co-investment, mentorship support and start-up capital grants. For example, Startup SG Talent aims to foster a more conducive environment for promising global talent to set up innovative businesses in Singapore and for start-ups to attract global talent to become part of their team (including, in particular, the EntrePass scheme, which allows eligible foreigners to start and operate a new business in Singapore); and Startup SG Tech, which provides early-stage funding for proof-of-concept and proof-of-value projects, with grants of up to S$250,000 and S$500,000, respectively;
  3. Enterprise Development Grant – Innovation and Productivity, operated by Enterprise Singapore, which is designed to help Singapore companies (with at least 30 per cent local shareholding) obtain government grants of up to 70 per cent of the qualifying product costs for upgrading initiatives in areas such as increasing productivity, process improvement, product development and market access;
  4. AISG, which is a national programme that is expected to involve investment of S$150 million over five years to boost Singapore's AI capabilities;
  5. the Accelerated Initiative for Artificial Intelligence by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), through which applicants may receive grants of AI-related patents in less than six months. The typical period for the grant of a patent would otherwise be two years or more. Applicants need not be based in Singapore;
  6. Accreditation@SGD, through which the Info-Communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) will accredit promising technology product firms to help them establish their credentials and position them as qualified parties to potential buyers and customers. This involves an independent evaluation of the technology product firms on the basis of various factors, including whether their products function in accordance with stated claims. Over S$650 million worth of project opportunities were made available for accredited companies, with more than 1,200 projects awarded;
  7. the Early Stage Venture Fund, an initiative under the National Framework for Innovation and Enterprise, through which the National Research Foundation Singapore invests S$10 million on a matching basis to seed corporate venture capital funds to invest in Singapore-based early-stage technology start-ups;
  8. a S$125 million support package by MAS to assist financial institutions and fintechs amid the covid-19 pandemic;
  9. a S$6 million FinTech Solidarity Grant, established by the MAS, the Singapore FinTech Association and AMTD Foundation to help Singapore-based fintech firms retain their employees, which continues to innovate and create opportunities for growth amid the covid-19 pandemic; and
  10. the IMDA 'pre-approval' process. Pre-approved solutions that are assessed by the IMDA to be effective, market-tested and cost-effective may become eligible to be considered for various government incentive support mechanisms, such as the Productivity Solutions Grant, which supports the adoption of pre-scoped IT solutions, equipment and consultancy. In particular, there are a variety of pre-scoped IT solutions for 'banks'. 1

A fintech company should consider whether a licence from a regulatory authority is required (i.e., regulatory licensing issues) as a priority. This is to reduce the risk of a potential licence application procedure holding back the roll-out of a fintech product or service. Fintech products and services come in a variety of forms and there is no one 'fintech licence' that applies to all of these. Different pieces of legislation may apply to different fintech products and services depending on the scope of the product or service being offered. The specific regulatory authority that regulates the activities of the fintech product or service will vary depending on the scope of the product or service. From experience, the regulatory authorities that oversee fintech-related activities will typically be MAS, the Registry of Moneylenders and Enterprise Singapore.1

Crowdfunding in Singapore

Fintech in other countries

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Singapore Fintech Lawyers

Denis Polyakov

Denis Polyakov

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  1. https://thelawreviews.co.uk/title/the-financial-technology-law-review/singapore
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