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Singapore’s first fintech festival

Annette Rowena

Last week was an exciting one for startups and all things fintech, when the first ever Singapore FinTech Festival ran from 14 to 18 November. The festival’s purpose was to bring the global financial community together in Singapore through a number of workshops, conferences, startup competitions and award ceremonies.

Source: Singapore Fintech Festival

Source: Singapore Fintech Festival

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) co-hosted the event with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS).  It featured sponsors such as Citibank, UOB, MasterCard and Deloitte.

The key programmes of the event included the Innovation Lab Crawl, RegTech Forum, FinTech Hackcelerator, the Tech Risk Conference and the FinTech Awards.


Bringing the global fintech community together

Source: Thinkstock/Getty Images

Source: Thinkstock/Getty Images

Mr Sopnendu Mohanty, the Chief FinTech Officer of MAS had this to say about the Singapore FinTech Festival:

“Standing on the cusp of financial technology transformation, the Singapore FinTech Festival is an important initiative that allows us to bring the global fintech community together.

The festival will foster the thriving fintech ecosystem in Singapore and beyond, as we strive towards establishing Singapore as a Smart Financial Centre and a world-class fintech hub.”

Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, the director of ABS also touched on the festival opening a new avenue for discourse within the fintech community:

“ABS is pleased to partner MAS in the FinTech Festival, which is the first of its kind globally. The festival offers a conducive environment for the fintech community to connect, exchange ideas and preview what the future holds for the financial industry, and the possibilities and opportunities that await us.

Fintech is the way forward and we are delighted that the festival will create new value and position Singapore as a future-ready financial centre.”


A revived interest in Southeast Asia

Source: Thinkstock/Getty Images

Source: Thinkstock/Getty Images

Ron Hose, the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of, had this to note about why Southeast Asia would lead fintech utilisation. In his own words in an interview with Nikkei Asian Review, he says:

“The low banking penentration and the high demand of mobile communications mean both unmet demand and technological readiness are there. I believe Southeast Asia will leapfrog the U.S. in terms of fintech utilisation.”

Source: Nikkei

Source: Nikkei

An exciting fintech startup to watch

Moneytree Japan does not meet your usual expectations of a Japanese fintech company. Its founders consist of expats Paul Chapman, Mark Makdad and Ross Sharrott.

The fintech company is surely a formidable one; it is setting the benchmark on how to bring banks towards technology, and not the other way around. Slightly more than a year ago, Moneytree was the first ever Japanese venture to obtain investment from Japan’s three megabanks – Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho, and Sumitomo Mitsui. It was all thanks to their innovative app.

Source: MoneyTree Japan

Source: MoneyTree Japan

Moneytree’s app of the same name gives its users a virtual shot on their personal finances. Imagine including your credit card, savings and loan accounts and even loyalty cards into one app to zoom in on your account balances and expenditures.

There are also notifications sent out for points that are about to expire and payments due dates that are closing in.

The focus of Moneytree is not confined to personal finances. The company has also ventured into B to E aspects, as it has seen that there is a need for data aggregation capabilities for companies. Moneytree is the top data partner for accounting-related software in Japan.

Moneytree intends to expand its wings out of Japan, and it is looking at English-speaking countries in Asia. As of last November, the startup has 3 million users for its personal finance app and a generous 400,000 in enterprise users.

(By Annette Rowena)

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