The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that it will pump SGD 250 million (USD 182 million) into the enhanced Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme (FSTI 2.0) over the next three years in order to “accelerate technology and innovation-driven growth in the financial sector”. This commitment is 11% more than the SGD 225 million (USD 164 million) in the previous FSTI scheme.
Through the FSTI 2.0, financial institutions, professional organizations, and industry bodies can apply for several grants to embark on relevant projects. Specifically, the MAS hopes to increase support for early-stage experimentation of technologies and use of AI in the financial industry.
The FSTI 2.0 builds on the previous scheme by offering several enhancements.
For example, the MAS will increase maximum funding support from 50% to 70% of project cost under the Proof-of-Concept Grant. The maximum funding for all AI projects under the Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (AIDA) Grant will be increased from SGD 1 million (USD 729,000) to SGD 1.5 million (USD 1.1 million).
Furthermore, MAS aims to build a pool of local fintech talent. It will co-fund existing innovation labs for new Singaporean hires. Projects under the Financial Institution-Level Projects, Industry-Wide Projects, and AIDA Tracks will also qualify for capability transfer-related funding support.
The original FSTI scheme ran from 2015 to 2020 and was similarly aimed at driving innovation in the financial industry. Singapore is now home to more than 1000 fintech firms and 40 innovation labs. In 2019 alone, fintech equity funding in the country reached SGD 1.2 billion (USD 875 million).