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Singapore Fintech Industry News - July 2017

Growth of "insurtech" in Singapore

Insurtech refers to the insurance over new technological platforms such as mobile phones. Bandboo, a local Singapore insurtech firm, provides unemployment insurance and retrenchment benefits. Essentially, consumers pay a monthly membership fee, and receive a stipend if they are laid off in future. Bandboo is not regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as it is a platform allowing individuals to come together for insurance, rather than an institution-based insurance provision. As it is a new concept it is not currently regulated under the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Another company, PolicyPal, digitises and collates users' insurance policies, giving them a useful digital folder they can use to analyse future insurance needs.

Grab to expand into money transfers

Earlier this year, Singaporean company Grab Taxi bought into an Indonesian payment startup company called KUDO, and is now rapidly moving into money transfers and loans. Grab is expanding its investments and building apps to allow investors access to money-market funds. In 2016 Grab raised 750 million in investments from Softbank.

HPE to invest in innovation programme

HPE is investing US$140 million on InnovateNext which aims to enable startups and their customers to develop new innovative solutions. HPE has also been on the startup buy-out phase, as it has acquired Nimble Storage, SimpliVity, Niara and Cloud Cruiser. HPE will look to commercialise some of these new technologies and solutions being incubated at InnovateNext.

“Insurance” tops finance related searches

Eight of the top 10 finance-related Google searches in Singapore over the last year were about insurance policies, ranging from health, business to housing and cars, revealed Google. This is notable and important indication regarding insurance and investment trends in Singapore.

Alipay will launch in Singapore

Alipay, the online and mobile payment system from China market will soon launch in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. In Singapore, the move is marked by a merger between Ant Financial, owner of Alibaba’s Alipay, and HelloPay of Lazada. Ant Financial has invested into South Korean mobile financial platform Kakao Pay as well as Filipino fintech firm Mynt. Alipay has also teamed up with Indonesia's Elang Mahkota Teknologi (Emtek), and is continuing its expansion in the payment space.

DBS moving further into technology

DBS is a well-known Singapore bank and one of the largest in SE Asia. However, even at its rate of success it sees disruptors as potential competition, and re-positioning itself in the tech-banking space. For example, DBS launched Digibank, India's first mobile-only bank, leveraging on the biometrics-enabled identity card being issued to Indian citizens. That technology is now moving to other regional markets such as Indonesia.

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