While venture funding into technology dwindled last year, the one sector bucking this trend was fintech in Asia. Venture capitalists poured a record $8.6 billion into Asian fintechs in 2016, almost 50% up from the year before. Meanwhile, funding for fintechs globally had almost halved. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the island’s watchdog, has opted to regulate debt and equity based alternative finance platforms within existing regulatory frameworks akin to Hong Kong, while others take a more bespoke stance, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Not only do regulators need to straddle the difficult balance between innovation and customer protection, but they also need to be wary of creating an uneven playing field. But in the long run, new implementation on the rules of the industry will guarantee a trustable service provided for the clients who have strong business relationship with Fintech firms. Continue reading
Companies across all industries have had to grapple with the onslaught of disruptive technologies, but small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have probably been hit the hardest. Many Singapore SMEs are already struggling to stay afloat amid a slowing economy, which has been weighing on sales and profit margins even as high costs continue to bite. In this auditorial of the author from the Strait Times, she illustrated the increasing need of budget for SMEs in Singapore to catch up with the fast-paced market. In a statement released after the Budget, the Singapore Business Federation said it was “disappointed” with the lack of short-term measures for companies this year, given that rising business costs have been a persistent concern. Seeking alternative financing such as marketplace lending pioneered by Fintech companies is now an adoptable way for SMEs to get financing and grow their business.