Singapore’s NRF, MAS to set up Fintech Office to handhold startups

Dusk view of Singapore's downtown. Credit:Flickr/Jerry van Krasten

Singapore’s Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat has launched SG-Innovate, a pro-innovation programme in line with initiatives announced at the country’s Budget 2016 session last week.

SG-Innovate includes a FinTech Office, a virtual office for small companies in the fintech space, that will officially start this May 3. The office is said to be jointly established by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the National Research Foundation.

“We are setting up SG-Innovate to provide a way [to connect] budding entrepreneurs with smart money, mentors as well as with the global markets,” said Heng.

He further said, “Innovation will be critical to our future. These initiatives will be very important in transforming our economy, and create better jobs for our people and a better economy that is more vibrant.”

The office will be co-led by Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, and Steve Leonard, CEO, SG-Innovate and Executive Deputy Chairman to the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), as well as executives from a number of other statutory boards.

The company will be listed under the NRF umbrella, with Leonard assuming the role of CEO.

MAS also seems extremely keen to sculpt Singapore as Asia’s next financial tech hub. At a conference, Mohanty said, as quoted in a report, “Fintech firms are not here to challenge you (traditional banks and other financial services companies). They are here to partner you.”

In terms of functions, FinTech Office will look at relevant funding opportunities for financial tech startups, identify gaps and propose strategies, policies and schemes in industrial infrastructure, talent development and manpower requirements and business competitiveness, manage the branding and marketing of the country as a finance tech hub through various events and initiatives, said MAS and NRF in a release.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.