Singapore has committed S$225 million over the next five years to a scheme designed to build a vibrant ecosystem for innovation in fintech.
Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon revealed the investment (around US$167 million) in the Financial Sector Technology & Innovation (FSTI) scheme during a speech.
The money will be used to help convince banks to set up their R&D and innovation labs on the island. Metlife and UBS are among those that have already applied for funds.
But the FSTI will also be used to back major institution and industry level projects such as a decentralised record-keeping system based on blockchain technology to prevent duplicate invoicing in trade finance; a cyber risk test-bed; and a natural catastrophe data analytics exchange.
Menon says that technological advances such as mobile payments, biometrics, the blockchain, cloud computing, big data and learning machines are revolutionising financial services, and that a smart nation must embrace and harness this innovation.
In addition to financial backing through FSTI, MAS says that it is trying to support a fintech ecosystem, facilitating cooperation, and also build technology skills among the country's workforce.