ITF Corporation, the world’s first fintech bank founded by Hui Jie Lim and funded by US investor Jim Rogers, will set up its headquarters in Hong Kong and start operations next year.
The bank – which aims to work with fintech companies in the city – will develop products and services in banking and wealth management, among others. Co-founder Hui Jie Lim said Hong Kong was chosen as it is close to the largest market in the world, China.
“We aim to be an international fintech company and Hong Kong has the regulatory and market conditions to help us achieve our goal as Hong Kong is a very international market,” Lim said on Wednesday, as quoted by the South China Morning Post.
Jim Rogers has said he invested in ITF because fintech will be the future of banking, where traditional office branch and physical cash will disappear. This trend, he believes, will be followed by the rest of the world.
ITF is slated to acquire 70 per cent of the economic rights of an international bank in Vanuatu. It has also formed correspondent banking relationships with Bank of Communications in China and Hong Kong.
ITF says it will use artificial intelligence to match customers’ needs with third-party products placed on its platform. Its revenues will come from the charging those who offer the products, as well as via the saving and lending business. The beta version is expected to be launched by the third quarter of next year.
The bank also plans to tap the Southeast Asian market, starting with Singapore.
Hong Kong Monetary Authority introduced several initiatives last month in a bid to open up “a new era of smart banking” in the city. These include a repackaging of the faster payments system, opening up the authority’s fintech supervisory sandbox to technology firms, and a new policy around opening up banks’ application programming interfaces to technology players.