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Fintech and sustainability at the heart of UK and Singapore’s Financial Dialogue

Fintech and sustainability at the heart of UK and Singapore’s Financial Dialogue

HM Treasury and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) held the eighth UK-Singapore Financial Dialogue in London yesterday, discussing further collaboration in sustainable finance and fintech.

The countries discussed the importance of scaling the transition to net zero financing and addressing emission reductions. Singapore shared projects that aim to address energy transitions in Asia.

The previous UK-Singapore Dialogue took place in November 2022 and discussed the Fintech Bridge to bolster cooperation and growth in the countries’ fintech sectors.

Both nations agreed to support global sustainability standards and reporting requirements, along with support of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). They also conferred on the urgency of prioritising ESG and sharing ESG data.

On nature and biodiversity loss, both countries spoke on the need for more attention to the issue and introduced the launch of a joint research project on nature-related financial risks in Southeast Asia between Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership and the Singapore Green Finance Centre.

Laimonas Noreika, CEO of HeavyFinance, stated: “Sustainable finance should be at the heart of government and business actions, and it is encouraging to see international discussions around transition finance and international standards as part of this. Collaboration in economic emission reductions is an important step for global governments to improve their climate actions, but it is important that real action is taken off the back of it to ensure a positive climate impact. Sustainable investments such as Article 9 funds is one option that can ensure positive climate action, giving support and funding to carbon reduction projects.”

The Dialogue also focused on both countries’ respective developments in digital assets. The UK and Singapore welcomed global standards on crypto and Financial Stability Board (FSB) guidance on crypto-assets.

Additionally, both nations shared their approaches to central bank digital currencies (CBDC), in order to encourage interoperability between the UK’s advancement towards the Digital Pound and Singapore’s digital Singapore Dollar.

Ganesh Viswanath Natraj, assistant professor of finance at the Gillmore Centre for Financial Technology, commented: “International collaboration in key areas such as FinTech is vital for UK innovation as we continue to establish ourselves as a leading centre to do business. Digital assets continue to play a prominent role in FinTech development, and it is promising to see the UK positioning itself as a primary contributor in global regulatory standards, but it is also important that this does not hinder R&D.”

Sheeraz Saleem, chief technology officer at DKK Partners, remarked: “It is great to see the UK taking a lead internationally in the development of digital assets in an attempt to lower the cost of foreign exchange and support cross-border trade. At a time when the UK economy is battling rising inflation and interest rates, it is important to explore ways in which government, regulators and the Bank of England can take greater control of the economy, and the knock-on impacts of digital currencies can have hugely positive implications for UK PLC.”

Earlier this year, Singaporean wealth management company, iFast, launched a digital banking service in the UK.

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