UK and Singapore fintech tie-up will benefit firms in both countries, say experts

Out-Law News | 12 May 2016 | 5:05 pm | 1 min. read

Innovative firms in the financial services sector in both the UK and Singapore will benefit from new arrangements between the countries to help encourage developments in financial technology, two experts have said.

A new 'fintech bridge' between the UK and Singapore was announced at a meeting of officials and industry representatives from both countries in London on Wednesday. The deal will involve the sharing and use of information on "financial services innovation" by the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Singapore's Monetary Authority (MAS), a statement issued by the Singapore regulator said.

As part of the deal, the FCA and MAS have also put in place a "regulatory cooperation agreement". The agreement is designed to help companies win authorisation for new financial technology products, services and business models in both jurisdictions. The FCA signed a similar agreement with Australia's Securities and Investments Commission in March.

"The fintech bridge initiative is further evidence of the UK’s efforts to be the world’s destination for fintech," said financial services and technology expert Yvonne Dunn of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com. "To do this, it is vital that domestic initiatives such as the FCA regulatory sandbox, which opened this week, are coupled with international co-operation. The fintech bridge will benefit both UK companies seeking international growth and international companies wishing to expand into the UK and Europe."

Bryan Tan, technology law specialist at Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint venture partner of Pinsent Masons, said: "Singapore's strength as a regional financial centre means that it brings to the table cross-border fintech solutions and innovation for developed and developing markets coupled with regulatory expertise in this sector. This also allows Singapore to be a channel for UK fintech innovation seeking greenfield and underbanked markets in Asia."

Closer links between the UK and Singapore on financial technology developments will help ensure that both countries "remain outstanding fintech centres", the UK's economic secretary to the Treasury Harriet Baldwin said.

Christopher Woolard, the FCA's director of strategy and competition, said that the arrangement will help the regulator fulfil its objective of "promoting competition in the interests of consumers".

Jacqueline Loh, deputy managing director of MAS, said: "The fintech bridge … will support fintech innovators who wish to use Singapore as a base for collaboration and as a gateway to other markets in Asia. Singapore’s vibrant fintech ecosystem is well-positioned to serve the Asian market, the fastest growing region in the world. The agreement between the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Financial Conduct Authority will also create opportunities for Singapore-based companies to grow and scale into the UK market."

Earlier this year MAS announced that a new FinTech Office would be established to provide guidance to financial technology companies looking to set up in Singapore on the availability of government grants and to help promote Singapore as a financial technology hub.