Invest Lithuania and Singapore FinTech Association today signed a landmark financial technology ("fintech") innovation agreement at the 2017 Singapore FinTech Festival, signifying deeper bilateral economic relations as both republics seek to enter each other's regional markets.
The Republic of Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevicius, witnessed the signing at the festival in a session hosted by the Lithuanian delegation to Singapore. Organised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the Singapore FinTech Festival provides a platform for Lithuania to reach out to Asian fintech leaders, policy makers and technopreneurs.
Representatives from the Bank of Lithuania and government-backed business advisor Invest Lithuania shared insights on starting and expanding a business in Europe. As national regulator, the Bank grants fintech enterprises access via its infrastructure to the Single Euro Payment Area, thus via straight-through processing non-banks can reach the entire SEPA area. E-payment providers can obtain a financial institution code for generation international bank account numbers (IBAN's) within 24 hours of commencing operations. In August 2017, the bank entered public consultation on the creation of a regulatory sandbox to simplify procedures and lift requirements for selected companies.
Prajit Nanu, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Singapore-based fintech provider InstaRem, was also present to take questions about his experiences in setting up InstaRem's office in Vilnius, Lithuania's fintech-friendly capital city. InstaRem is one of many international providers -- including the UK's Revolut and Contis Group -- that have chosen the Baltic state for their European operations.
The collaboration comes amid Singapore's push for regional fintech leadership, following the MAS' recent partnership with rival financial hub Hong Kong. Both Lithuania and Singapore are small financial hubs with global talent pools and thriving start-up scenes: Lithuania's fintech friendly regulation offers the Lion City a gateway to the post-Brexit European Union single market of more than 500 million customers, while Singapore is a hub for Asian investment.
Investor confidence in fintech is still strong as the remaining EU countries promote themselves as alternative financial hubs to claim a larger share of European investments. Moreover, banks and insurance providers in Asia and Europe are modernising rapidly. According to the 2017 PwC Global FinTech Report, traditional financial institutions are increasingly integrating fintech into their systems. 82 percent of institutions from 71 different countries have said they will ramp up fintech partnerships in the next three to five years.
Marius Jurgilas, Board Member of the Bank of Lithuania, commented: "Lithuania and Singapore are at the forefront of fintech in Europe and Asia, thanks to their strong digital infrastructure and thriving start-up ecosystems. We are excited to help more Singaporean investors and businesses grow in Europe, which is home to 500 million customers."
Prajit Nanu, Co-Founder and CEO of InstaRem, added: "Innovation is key to fintech growth both locally and abroad. Lithuania is a rising fintech destination in Europe, and I am confident that this partnership will fuel the development of transformative new solutions in the fintech space. I remain grateful to the Lithuanian fintech authorities for their support of our European expansion."