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Singapore Fintech Industry News - August 2017

Fintech growth in Singapore

A KPMG report cited the 2nd quarter growth of fintech worldwide at US$8.4 bil. This figure is more than double the first quarter of this year. The industry is moving rapidly through M&As, acquisitions, and new investments. However, EY reports that Singaporeans lag far behind many other economies in the world where it comes to fintech adoption. Fintech adoption in Singapore among digitally active consumers was at 23% this year, up from 15% in 2015. However, among the countries surveyed in a similar category, adoption rate can reach up to 33%. The report showed that emerging markets are driving much of the fintech adoption, with countries such as China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Mexico averaging 46%. China’s adoption of fintech is at 69%.

Bitcoin exchange operator sued in Singapore

A major bitcoin exchange operator Quoine is being sued over trade proceeds worth US$3.7 mil. This is Singapore’s first legal dispute over bitcoin. The lawsuit refers to trades that were allegedly wrongfully reversed by Quoine. The investment company called B2C2 is taking the legal action on the basis it placed orders on Quoine's platform to sell ethereum at the price of 10 bitcoins for one ethereum, and the orders were filled but the the trades were reversed by Quoine the next day.

Singapore fintech hub Lattice80 to open in India

Singapore fintech hub Lattice80 will open an office in India by the end of 2017. Lattice80 is also planning to start offices in London, New York and the Middle East. Currently Lattice80 has 85 companies under its fintech shared-space in Singapore.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic to add fintech courses

Students in Ngee Ann’s banking programme will soon be able to learn about the fintech industry through courses that are partnered with Fidor Bank. Final-year students from the Financial Informatics diploma will learn about banking services that are provided through messaging apps and e-wallets. Students will also be able to understand the concepts surrounding fintech sandboxes.

New fintech education centre partners with MAS

The Centre for Finance, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (CFTE) is a new education initiative for the finance sector. It trains students on the topics surrounding fintech. Subjects include disruptive technology in the finance industry, and innovative digital finance products. The CFTE has now partnered the Monetary Authority (MAS) to expand its training courses in the ASEAN region.

Chinese investment firm Lufax expands to Singapore

Lufax is China's second-largest marketplace lender. It is planning to launch its wealth management platform in Singapore and has already obtained a license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Lufax is already present in China with some 200,000 loans worth $2.5 billion. The platform will enable mainland Chinese and subsequently other Southeast Asian customers to invest in overseas markets using exchange traded funds (ETFs) and equity products. Under the MAS regulations, Singaporeans will not be able to use the product.

VISA opens data and processing centre in Singapore

VISA has announced it would be expanding its financial processing in Singapore and the UK. The new centres will be the regional hubs for processing VISA payments in future. Currently VISA runs processing only in the USA. Visa plans to start processing global transactions in the two countries from 2018.

Digital wealth manager Kristal to launch in Singapore

Kristal is a digital wealth manager which will launch in Singapore in 2017. The Kristal platform allows investors to pick and choose investments from a customized machine-learning algorithm. The Singapore service would be the third market for Kristal, after Hong Kong and India.

Alipay to partner with Fave

Fave is the new name for Groupon. Fave has extensive arrangements with restaurants and retailers globally and has now partnered with Alipay. Customers will soon be able to make their purchases via the Alipay app at any of Fave’s member restaurants. Fave has more than 10,000 restaurants and offline retailers listed and over 1 million active users.

Marketplace Lender Dianrong receives Series D funding

Dianrong, one of China's leading marketplace lenders raised US$220 million in a Series D round led by Singapore’s GIC. The funding will go toward automating aspects of Dianrong's lending business, R&D projects, acquisitions, and cost of expansion into Asian markets. Dianrong has acquired smaller fintech players and Shanghai-based Quark Finance. The company is searching for other M&A opportunities in Asian countries.

OCBC begins QR code funds transfers

OCBC Bank has created an account-to-account funds transfer solution via the use of QR codes. The service, called Pay Anyone works on mobile to allows customers to send or request funds using QR codes. Transfers using this system are essentially private and secure as the two transacting parties do not need to share phone numbers, NRIC or bank details. The daily transfer limit is (SGD$1000) or US$733.

Worldremit sets up in Singapore

WorldRemit is a leading digital money transfer company and has now set up operations in Singapore. The new service in Singapore will enable migrants to transfer money to over 140 countries through its website. WorldRemit integrates with Google’s Android Pay and also partners with Huawei’s mobile money platform. The company currently handles 74% of all international remittances sent from money transfer operators to mobile money accounts globally. Over $6.2 billion was transferred out of Singapore in 2015 according to the World Bank.

OCBC investigates money laundering with AI

To automate probes into suspicious bank transactions, OCBC now deploys artificial intelligence software to trace potential money laundering. OCBC’s solution called the Open Vault, will conduct due diligence where human investigations may not be as efficient. The platform searches information on individual profiles and maps them to suspicious transactions.

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