Knowledge Highlights 16 February 2021

Amid the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, Singapore regulators have held steadfast in rolling out slated regulatory reform, all while boosting programmes that invigorate innovation and embrace sustainability, and providing relief for financial institutions and FinTech firms impacted by Covid-19.

We are pleased to present to you our FinTech Update. This publication highlights the following three FinTech trends in Singapore in 2020:

  1. Developments in regulation and guidance: The new regulatory regime under the Payment Services Act 2019 (“PS Act”) for payment systems and payment services providers came into force in January 2020. Amendments to the PS Act were passed in Parliament in January 2021 to expand the scope of the PS Act to mitigate money laundering / terrorism financing (“ML/TF”) risks and to empower the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) to impose measures on digital payment token service providers. In the international space, the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) released a report on red flag indicators of ML/TF in relation to virtual assets, complementing a previously issued guidance for a risk-based approach to virtual assets and virtual asset service providers. MAS has encouraged financial institutions to take reference from the FATF report when implementing their anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism framework. 
  2. Encouraging innovation and committing to sustainability: MAS’ S$250 million enhanced Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme (“FSTI 2.0”) was launched to accelerate innovation and technology adoption in the financial sector by enhancing support for early stage experimentation of technology, strengthening the adoption of artificial intelligence within the financial industry and building a stronger talent pipeline of Singaporeans for FinTech. The Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) implemented SG IP Fast Track, the world’s fastest application-to-grant process, to facilitate intellectual property applications aimed at innovators in emerging technologies with short product lifecycles. In recognition of the role of FinTech in enabling trusted and efficient sustainable finance flows (“Green FinTech”), MAS also announced Project Greenpoint, a technology platform aimed at promoting a green financial ecosystem, and earmarked 20% of the FSTI 2.0 budget to support Green FinTech projects. 
  3. Grants and Covid-19 relief: MAS announced a S$125 million support package to sustain and strengthen capabilities in the financial services and FinTech sectors in the face of the Covid-19 economic slump. This support package is targeted at (1) supporting workforce training and manpower costs with a new Training Allowance Grant, enhancements to the Finance Associate Management Scheme and a new Work-Study Support Programme, (2) strengthening digitalisation and operational resilience with a new Digital Acceleration Grant and (3) enhancing FinTech firms’ access to digital platforms and tools. A S$6 million MAS-SFA-AMTD FinTech Solidarity Grant comprising the Business Sustenance Grant and Business Growth Grant was also introduced by MAS, the Singapore FinTech Association, AMTD Group and AMTD Foundation to support Singapore-based FinTech firms.

More information can be found in our FinTech Update.

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