Singapore FinTech Festival

By Stefanie Schmidt, Vice President Legal & Compliance

It’s not every day that you get a handful of Singapore’s most impactful regulators along with a group of global thought-leaders in the FinTech industry under the same roof in New York. But tonight, that was exactly what happened at the Singapore FinTech Festival, an event hosted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore at the Asia Society in Upper Manhattan. And Demyst was privileged enough to participate in the celebration (not coincidentally in part because we officially launched our own Singapore office this month!).

The MC of the event wore a t-shirt with the phase “Dream Big, Think Fast” — a phrase that perfectly summarizes Singapore’s approach to innovation in the financial services sector. The sentiment was echoed in the keynote speech of Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Chairman of the the Monetary Authority of Singapore, who noted that Singapore’s number 4 spot in the rankings among key FinTech Regions was evidence of Singapore’s commitment “to be at the frontier of technology platform and infrastructure for innovation and finance.” Ravi Menon, Managing Director at the MAS, went on to speak about Singapore’s intention to invest early and boldly to achieve innovative solutions enabled by tech to solve the inefficiencies in the current banking system, emphasising that “whatever is good for future growth, that’s what’s good for us.”

Singapore is putting the customer first, with a clear goal of improving the lives of its people through smarter regulation that embraces opportunities in technology to solve the problems of an inefficient financial services industry. This is the type of progressive and forward-thinking regulation that panelist (and overall superstar) Blythe Masters (CEO, Digital Asset Holdings), says we need more of. The message is one that resonates deeply with Demyst, given our own social purpose of helping organizations access better data and make smarter decisions to unlock financial service for the unbanked and underbanked.

Other panelist, led by Chief FinTech Officer of the MAS, Sopnendu Mohanty, included Stephen Bird (CEO, Citi Global Consumer Banking) and Matthias Kroner (CEO, Fidor Bank AG), agreed with Masters, noting that the sooner regulators (like those in Singapore) acknowledge the potential benefits of technologies, the better, and that ten years from now only those banks that are able to innovate will be left standing.

The discussion is far from over on the topic of exactly how and when uncertainties over potential regulation of this space will play out. We are excited to be at the forefront of this frontier with these incredible visionaries, and look forward to continuing the conversation in November at the five-day event in Singapore!

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