The recent launch event of the PwC-EDB-SFA FinTech Report at Raffles Hotel, Singapore, marked an important milestone for the fintech industry, as key stakeholders, including industry professionals and venture capitalists, gathered to explore the future of fintech.
Philbert Gomez, Vice President and Head of Digital Industry Singapore (DISG), opened the event by acknowledging the dedication of stakeholders in shaping Singapore’s fintech ecosystem. He commended their resilience in overcoming obstacles and emphasized their commitment to further enhancing the ecosystem.
Furthermore, Gomez highlighted several upcoming challenges, such as the rising expenses associated with market compliance and entry. He also discussed the potential impact of generative AI on the workforce, emphasizing its disruptive nature and the need to adapt to this technological shift.
Wanyi Wong, Fintech Leader at PwC Singapore, highlighted several prominent themes discussed in the report. These included the significant role of AI, the growing emphasis on sustainability, and the crucial aspect of digital trust within the fintech industry.
“While challenges exist, Singapore’s fintech ecosystem is well-positioned for growth,” said Wong. “By leveraging AI, embracing sustainability, and fostering digital trust, fintech companies can navigate the regulatory landscape, address talent shortages, and take advantage of the support systems available in Singapore.”
To put the insights from the report into action, a panel of three experts was invited to discuss how these insights are relevant to their respective businesses and how Singapore’s ecosystem can facilitate their success in this evolving landscape. With their diverse backgrounds and expertise in digital assets management, regulatory tech, and greenhouse gas accounting, all three panelists have contributed to the advancement of the fintech industry in Singapore.
Among the topics discussed, one key theme centered around the difficulties of attracting talent to the emerging and relatively nascent fintech industry. The panelists shared the challenges of finding individuals with the right level of experience and career trajectory, and the struggle between bringing in overseas talent to supplement local expertise and the potential social and political issues that may arise from such practices.
Addressing one of the pressing global concerns, Liam Griffiths, Managing Director of Persefoni Singapore, provided an insightful update on the significant developments in the sustainability sector. He expressed optimism about the adoption of the International Sustainability Standards (ISE) by countries including Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. This adoption ensures that companies report on their sustainability performance in a standardized manner.
“This convergence allows for easier comparison of sustainability performance globally and establishes mandates that were previously voluntary,” shared Griffiths.
Chionh Chye Kit, CEO and co-founder of Cynopsis Solutions, and Secretary of the Singapore FinTech Association, encouraged businesses to view regulatory control measures as preventive measures for effective risk management, instead of burdensome obligations.
By approaching regulatory challenges in this way, you can convert them into regulatory advantages,” shared Chionh. “Viewing regulations as an opportunity rather than a restriction allows you to position your business ahead of the curve and navigate the regulatory landscape effectively.”
Lastly, Adrian Chng, Founder and Group CEO of Fintonia Group, shared his excitement about how tokenizing real-world assets — which creates legal representations of these assets on the blockchain — could lead to increasing accessibility of financial products to retail investors.
Chng pointed out that in today’s age, many costs associated with providing financial products arise from the need for manual checks and reconciliations performed by multiple parties. However, he emphasized that these tasks can now be efficiently carried out by machines, highlighting the potential for cost reduction and improved operational efficiency.
The launch event showcased the strength and resilience of Singapore’s fintech ecosystem. As the industry progresses, it is crucial to attract top talent, embrace regulatory opportunities, and explore emerging technologies to unlock new possibilities for the financial services landscape.