Singapore proves to be one of the most important Asia-based fintech hubs – and the role of the government in this success can hardly be overestimated.
On the 13th of February KPMG released a solid research called “The Pulse of Fintech Q4 2017”. The company that is an active member of crypto society thoroughly studied the global investment in fintech companies. The overall analysis is followed by the detailed assessment of the situation in different regions. One of the main hot topics for discussion came from the ‘Asia’ segment – Singapore and its amazing rise in Q4 of the previous year.
The last quarter of 2017 brought over $8.7 billion investment in fintech companies. It did not become a big surprise – the interest to fintech had been very stable during the whole year. The totals for 2017 are about $31 billion which is close to the result of 2016. Even though those results are far from the investment volume generated in 2015 the whole sphere is treated as a mature and strong.
Brian Hughes, National Co-Lead Partner, Venture Capital Practice, KPMG LLP, highlighted the most significant trends of the fourth quarter of 2017: “The growing maturity of key sub-sectors within fintech, such as payments and lending, has led to larger deals and increased interest by PE firms and corporate. Both traditional corporates and some of the more well-developed fintech companies in the U.S. see strategic acquisitions as a ready means to make leaps in innovation, bridge operational or service gaps, or expand. For traditional financial institutions, a buy approach also ensures they have their feet on the ground with respect to innovation, and better access to knowledge as to how the fintech ecosystem will continue to evolve.”
Singapore takes a special place in the discussion of fintech development in 2017. Record $122.75 million funding in Q4 made this country the one of high interest. Even though the only fact of obtaining $229.1 million investment in 2017 is rather impressive, Singapore still has some more newsmakers. Two out of top ten Asian fintech deals of the fourth quarter of 2017 occurred in this country: the purchase of GoSwiff which cost Paynear Solutions $100 million and Smartkarma Innovations series B round which brought the company $13.5 million. The timing was a big spur to the Singapore takeoff: a number of cryptocurrency bans and restrictions in Asia contributed greatly to the prosperity of fintech in this country.
Another KPMG official, Chia Tek Yew, Head of financial services advisory, noted that “given the fragmented markets in Singapore, fintechs are not taking a disruptive approach to these services, focusing instead on building partnerships with telcos and other local players in order to better engage with potential customers.”
Singapore is believed to become an Asia-based fintech hub, and The Monetary Authority of Singapore plays a significant role in the welfare of the country’s investment attractiveness. In June 2017 it announced its partnership with the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority, the collaboration with three Asian banks evolved into a blockchain proof-of-concept aimed at strengthening the know-your-customer process. The central banks of Singapore and Hong Kong also became partners in the blockchain sphere. All in all, the government makes its best to turn Singapore into a fintech paradise.