NUS announces its 2 new graduate programs in fintech that will commence in the upcoming academic year, and ALTIOS discusses how this will strengthen Singapore’s fintech landscape.
2019 was a banner year for Singapore’s fintech industry, with investments having doubled to more than US$861 million compared to the year before, and more than 40 innovation labs being set up to drive innovation within the traditional financial institutions and facilitate collaborations with fintech firms.
The nascent Singapore fintech industry has expanded to an estimated 1,000 firms, making it the largest hub in South-east Asia in terms of total fintech-investment dollars as well as number of fintech firms.
While Fintech firms have not been spared from the economic drawbacks of Covid-19, Singapore’s Fintech has proven itself to be resilient. It has even thrived because of the acceleration of the adoption of digital finance by consumers across all age groups and businesses of all sizes.
Now, we are seeing even more signs of Singapore’s commitment to fintech and integrating it into society. The National University of Singapore (NUS), ranked the #11 best university in the world by QS Global World Rankings 2021, recently announced that it will begin offering two new graduate programs in fintech in the upcoming academic year. The programs will be jointly funded by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF), and NUS via the Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF) at NUS.
NUS hopes that these programs will help “build a robust ecosystem of high-quality research talent and capabilities to support the fast-growing financial industry in Singapore.”
As Singapore continues its quest to become the premier destination for fintech, the graduates of these programs will certainly be an asset to the innovative fintech startups and companies that have set up base In Singapore, such as the 4 digital banks that were recently given licenses to operate by MAS.
Having the ability to hire top talent locally will also be a big draw for homegrown fintechs looking to make their mark in the space, which will in turn strengthen the fintech ecosystem in Singapore.
Overall, NUS’ commitment to improving the talent pool in fintech and the progressive regulatory support the government has demonstrated are positive signs for the continued growth of Singapore’s fintech industry.
Southeast Asia’s emergence as a fintech hotspot in recent years and the establishment of some of the world’s most advanced fintech markets in Asia has created many opportunities for businesses and consumers.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) issuing of digital full bank licenses to the Grab-Singtel consortium and tech giant Sea is a signifier of the liberalisation of the financial industry in Singapore and demonstrates how new players will take advantage of opportunities.
Considering that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted traditional banking services, and that more and more people and businesses are going online, adopting fintech has become crucial to maintaining Singapore’s reputation as one of the world’s top financial centres.
Thus, it will be interesting to see how the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) issuing of digital full bank licenses to the Grab-Singtel consortium and tech giant Sea will improve financing options for SMEs in Singapore and in other parts of Southeast Asia.
While the Big Three banks in Singapore, OCBC, DBS, and UOB already have robust digital services, Grab-Singtel and Sea expect to cater to small businesses and underbanked consumers. Examples include gig workers with flexible incomes, time-starved PMETs, and micro-SEMs who face limited financial access, and underbanked consumers.
According to the Grab-Singtel consortium’s CEO, Mr. Charles Wong, they hope to serve their target market through “personalised, accessible, and trusted financial products” that will be “powered by our next-generation cloud technology and data platform.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Mr. Forrest Li, chairman and group CEO of Sea, who emphasised that they wanted to “better the lives of consumers and small businesses through technology” and address the “underserved financial needs of young consumers and SMEs in Singapore.”
As more and more in funding is poured into fintech in Southeast Asia, which reported a CAGR of 55% in equity funding, SMEs can look to fintech to fulfil existing financing gaps, such as not being paid on time, being unable to secure sufficient funding, a lack of understanding in trade financing, and inadequate cash flow management.
Just like how the Singaporean financial sector has embraced fintech in its bid to remain a top financial centre, SMEs will have to explore fintech solutions if they want to continue to drive long-term sustainable, and inclusive growth. And with the recent digital bank licenses awarded, SMEs are sure to have a wider array of options and services to meet their needs.
ALTIOS looks forward to the roll out the newly created digital banks and helping small to medium size Fintech companies to strive in the region from the strategy to the implementation.
The full article, as reported by Fintech News SG, can be accessed here