The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is enhancing its financial technology scheme with a S$250 million ($182 million) additional commitment to boost the sector’s growth and further develop local fintech talent.
MAS will commit the amount over the next three years under the enhanced Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme (FSTI 2.0), which will beef up support for large-scale innovation projects, according to managing director Ravi Menon.
Additionally, the enhanced scheme aims to build a stronger pipeline of fintech talent in the city-state.
The budget is 11 per cent higher than the S$225 million spread over five years that was injected under the first FTSI scheme, which was launched in 2015.
The original scheme was introduced to accelerate purposeful technology and innovation-driven growth in the financial sector and has supported more than 1,000 fintech firms and 40 plus innovation labs in the country.
Under the enhanced scheme, MAS will double the maximum funding allocation from S$200,000 to S$400,000 under the Proof-of-Concept (POC) Grant. It will also raise the maximum funding support from 50 per cent to 70 per cent of the qualifying project cost.
“The higher funding support will enable financial institutions and FinTech firms to undertake larger-scale POC projects to experiment, develop, and deploy innovative solutions, empowered by emerging technologies,” MAS said.
A merit-based tiered funding mechanism will also be introduced to replace the existing flat 50 per cent funding support of qualifying project cost. The level of funding support and quantum cap for each applicant will vary according to the total number of favourable votes awarded by an evaluation panel.
“A higher level of funding will be allocated to POC projects which demonstrate stronger merits,” according to the announcement posted on MAS’s website.
MAS will also raise the maximum funding quantum for all qualifying AI projects under the Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (AIDA) Grant from S$1 million to S$1.5 million to provide greater impetus for financial institutions to implement ground-breaking and innovative AI solutions.
Funded by the Financial Sector Development Fund, the scheme will also co-finance existing innovation labs for new hires in Singapore to encourage the expansion of existing labs and groom local talent, MAS added.