29 November 2021

The Singapore FinTech Festival 2021 (“SFF 2021”), organised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”), was held from 8 to 12 November 2021. The theme for SFF 2021 was the impact of Web 3.0 on financial services.

This article sets out some of the key developments and initiatives announced during the course of SFF 2021:

  • Launch of MAS’ tech and innovation initiatives: MAS and its partner agencies made the following announcements in relation to bringing about new digital efficiencies and benefits to the financial sector:
    • National Artificial Intelligence Programme in Finance: MAS and the National AI Office launched the National Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) Programme in Finance to build deep AI capabilities within Singapore’s financial sector to strengthen customer service, risk management, and business competitiveness. 
    • Phase two of SGFinDex: MAS and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group launched the second phase of the Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex), allowing individuals to now view information on their investment holdings at The Central Depository as part of their consolidated financial position. 
    • Sandbox Plus: MAS announced Sandbox Plus, an enhancement to the MAS FinTech Regulatory Sandbox framework, to further catalyse financial innovation and FinTech adoption. 
    • Retail Central Bank Digital Currency (“CBDC”) paper: MAS released a paper outlining MAS’ preliminary assessment of the economic case for a retail CBDC in Singapore, and its potential implications for financial stability and monetary policy.
  • Industry collaboration and innovation initiatives: Industry collaboration and initiatives were launched to drive innovation in the future of finance. They are as follows:
    • Digital platforms under Project Greenprint: MAS announced its partnership with the industry to pilot four digital platforms under Project Greenprint, to address the financial sector’s needs for good data on sustainability. 
    • ChekFin on APIX: ChekFin is a decentralised credentials platform to enable financial institutions to obtain verified credentials of FinTech firms, such as business references, awards obtained, and investor funding records. ChekFin is a partnership among the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network, BCG FinTech Control Tower, and Affinidi, with MAS as a founding partner.
    •  Cross-border digital payments: NETS announced the integration of Alipay+ to enhance local merchants’ cross-border digital payments capabilities, and Western Union announced that it is supporting cross-border digital money movement with Singtel’s Dash. 
    • Small business financing: MasterCard launched the world’s first “Buy Now, Pay Later” commercial card solution for small business financing in the Asia Pacific.
  • Innovation awards: SFF 2021 also saw the launch of two new innovation challenges to solve industry problems - the Global CBDC Challenge which seeks to identify and develop retail CBDC solutions that increase payment efficiencies and improve financial inclusion and the Global Veritas Challenge which aims to address key challenges in validating the fairness of AI solutions for specific banking use cases. SFF 2021 also celebrated the winning solutions of the Global FinTech Hackcelerator, the SFF Global FinTech Awards and the Most Innovative FinTech e-Gifting Award. 
  • International cooperation: International cooperation initiatives were announced:
    • MAS and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas signed an enhanced FinTech Cooperation Agreement to facilitate interoperable payments between Singapore and the Philippines. 
    • Swiss Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, in cooperation with finance.swiss, SFF and Elevandi announced the Europe-Asia FinTech Forum in Switzerland. This forum will build a bridge between Asia and Europe and seek to bring together the best technologists, with investors and leaders to develop innovative ideas and inclusive solutions. 
    • SFF 2021 added new partners such as the World Economic Forum and a continued partnership with the Milken Institute.

Reference materials

A press release issued by MAS following the conclusion of SFF 2021 is available on the MAS website www.mas.gov.sg.