Growth boost

UK signs fintech trade agreement with Singapore

Nicola Anderson
Nicola Anderson of FinTech Scotland which has a thriving cluster of firms (pic: Terry Murden)

A deal to boost fintech trade and cooperation has been agreed between the UK and Singapore.

The Fintech Bridge builds on an agreement signed in 2016 and is seen as an important milestone in developing the UK’s dominant role in the sector.

In the first half of 2022 total capital invested in fintech globally reached $59 bn but was flat year-on-year. However, the UK fintech sector continues to grow with investment reaching $9.1bn – a 24% year-on-year increase from H1 2021, and more than the rest of Europe combined.

Across the same period, Singapore was ranked as South East Asia’s leading jurisdiction for fintech investment, and the sixth globally.

In Europe, $17.6 bn was invested into European fintech across 708 deals, a 10% increase compared to the same period of 2021.

However, such an increase has been driven by the positive growth in investment in UK fintech.

Data published in March showed Scotland has a fintech cluster of more than 190 firms, up by more than 50% since January 2020. With nearly 25 fintech firms per million population, Scotland’s density of fintech companies is about 60% greater than the UK average outside London.

FinTech Scotland says that achieving its goals could boost jobs in the sector from the current 8,500 to 29,300 over the next decade and increase its economic contribution by 330% from £598 million to £2.1 billion.

Excluding the UK, the rest of Europe was down by 2% compared to the same period in 2021.

Commenting on the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Singapore, Andrew Griffith, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said: “The UK and Singapore are among the world’s leading jurisdictions for fintech investment – and today’s announcement will only accelerate growth and innovation in our respective sectors. 

“The MoU we’ve announced today is crucial – and I would like to thank the Monetary Authority of Singapore for their constructive engagement throughout discussions.”

CEO of Innovate Finance, Janine Hirt said:  “A MoU between UK and Singapore will deliver a strengthened framework for vital regulatory and policy discussions between the two countries, enable innovation across financial services, and ensure businesses based in both the UK and Singapore have the ongoing support for their ambitions for growth to be realised.”

The existing Regulatory Cooperation Agreement signed in 2016 has enabled the UK and Singaporean fintech sectors to closely align at a regulatory level.

Today’s commitment goes further in a number of areas, making clear the business support available to firms, highlight opportunities in each other’s markets and creating a clear link between challenges firms face and policy discussions.

The MoU will come into effect next week once formalities have been completed on both sides.

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