The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the nation’s central bank and financial regulator, recently revealed that it will commit S$250 million (appr. $182 million) in capital over the course of the next three years, in order to support the country’s financial industry.
The funds are being provided as part of Singapore’s updated Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme (FSTI 2.0) which aims to accelerate tech and innovation-led growth in the city-state’s financial sector.
Backed by the Financial Sector Development Fund, FSTI 2.0 will focus on strengthening the cybersecurity capabilities and various other digital security measures in Singapore’s financial industry.
As part of the FSTI 2.0, MAS will increase funding for projects from S$200,000 to S$400,000, under the initiative’s Proof-of-Concept (POC) Grant. The FSTI 2.0 will increase the maximum financial assistance amount from 50% to 70% of qualifying project cost.
The additional funding will allow financial institutions and Fintech businesses to carry out larger-scale POC initiatives. This should allow them to conduct more meaningful experiments, and also build and deploy appropriate Fintech solutions.
MAS is reportedly planning to or considering the adoption of certain AI technologies within the financial sector in Singapore. The regulator and reserve bank said it would raise the maximum funding amount for AI-focused initiatives from S$1 million to S$1.5 million (which falls under the Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics Grant or AIDA).
The MAS will also introduce AIDA-Lite track, which offers half or 50% of the funding quantum of the AIDA track. Singapore-based financial institutions will be able to receive financial support (via AIDA) to adopt relevant AI software solutions for streamlining their business operations.
MAS also noted that it would be co-funding innovation labs for new Singapore employees. The regulator said it would focus on expanding the existing development labs in the country while offering guidance to tech professionals based in Singapore. These initiatives are part of the Financial Institution-Level Projects, Industry-Wide Projects and AIDA Tracks.
Earlier this month, the MAS along with the National University of Singapore (NAS) and National Research Foundation established a new Fintech focused entity: the Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF).
AIDF is expected to provide thought leadership and strengthen synergies between education, research and entrepreneurship in Fintech. AIDF is anticipated to begin operating by the end of this year.