Fintech is an important and growing industry sector. As many members will have experienced, it is changing the way individuals and businesses use and access financial services.
Countries around the world are now developing and promoting their own fintech sectors, with Singapore and the UK – particularly London – consistently rated as two of the top global hubs.
We recently launched a new thought leadership report, in partnership with the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), which investigates how a successful fintech sector is built and examines what we can learn from experiences in London and Singapore.
As well as providing some interesting findings on how fintech is developing around the world, it also illustrates the benefits to be had from accountancy bodies collaborating and sharing knowledge and experience in areas of innovation.
Key strengths and differences
A key finding is that London and Singapore share many of the same strengths in fintech innovation. They both have growing markets and enthusiastic customers for new fintech services. They are magnets for top talent and already boast deep pools of expertise in financial services. They have access to significant capital and their respective governments are supportive of the sector. Crucially, they also have regulators that are keen to embrace innovation and that are working closely with the sector.
However, the research also highlights notable differences between the London and Singapore markets. In the UK, there is a strong push for fintech to disrupt the established sector and increase competition in financial services. This should drive improvements in the sector overall. Singapore effectively serves as more of a gateway, into the much larger markets of Southeast Asia, which include many ‘unbanked’ citizens across the region, and fintech provides significant opportunities to increase financial inclusion.
Ultimately, our report shows us that, although the elements that underpin innovation are common, fintech isn’t a one-size-fits-all industry - there are significant local differences that require tailored responses from regulators and others.
You can download and read our full report at icaew.com/fintech
one of the key points that Michael should elaborate upon would be that both locations have regulators that have innovated experiential learning through the use of 'sandboxes' whereby new ideas can be tested for regulatory compliance as they emerge and perhaps change emphasis or direction after dialogue with the regulators. This is a key enabler of fintech and ensures costly programming doesn't fall foul of regulation and consumer confidence.