Australia, Singapore to Deepen Fintech Collaboration

Australia Treasury and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) recently signed the Australia-Singapore Fintech Bridge Agreement in order “to strengthen cooperation between the Fintech ecosystems of both countries.”

The commencement of discussions to develop the Fintech Bridge was “announced in June 2021, when Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.”

The Fintech Bridge aims “to build on the overarching framework for digital economy cooperation under the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) to deepen collaboration between the Fintech ecosystems of both countries.”

The Fintech Bridge will “support both Fintech ecosystems now and in the future, with both the Australia Treasury and the MAS committed to ensuring that it will be a living agreement.”

The Australia-Singapore Fintech Bridge “sets out a framework for both authorities” to:

  • deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation on Fintech, “to facilitate trade, investment and ecosystem development in the Fintech sector;”
  • support the mutual establishment of Fintechs looking “to expand in each other’s markets, and to encourage Fintechs to use the facilities and assistance available to explore new business opportunities and reduce barriers to entry;”
  • build on current engagements “to strengthen linkages between Australia and Singapore for policy officials, regulators, and industry groups; and to work together to share FinTech expertise and encourage the development of new opportunities;” and
  • explore joint innovation projects “on emerging issues in Fintech to help the industry navigate through a constantly evolving space, to share information on emerging market trends, and to learn from the experiences in each jurisdiction.” This “includes collaboration in areas such as blockchain and distributed ledger technology, digital identities, cross-border data connectivity, data portability, and the application of FinTech to promote sustainable finance.”

As noted in the announcement, the Fintech Bridge agreement “continues the long history of forging ground-breaking trade agreements between Australia and Singapore, and follows the signing of the Australia-Singapore DEA in 2020.”

Such agreements help their businesses “to seize local, regional and global opportunities arising from the digital boom that is crossing borders, reshaping industries, and transforming economies in the region.

A bilateral Fintech Bridge “allows like-minded jurisdictions like Australia and Singapore to strengthen cooperation and collaboration on emerging issues on Fintech policy and regulation, and to better support the cross-border growth of the FinTech industry.”

Australia and Singapore consider themselves to be “world leaders in the Fintech industry – in global Fintech rankings, Australia and Singapore both consistently rank in the top 10. We both offer a stable regulatory environment, with policies that encourage innovation, whilst maintaining market stability.”

With over 700 Fintech companies based in all Australian State and Territory capitals, Australia has one of “the world’s most exciting and dynamic Fintech industries.”

The Australian Fintech industry “is estimated to grow from an AU$250 million industry in 2015 to an AU$4 billion industry by 2021 .”

The Singapore Fintech ecosystem has “grown exponentially in a short span of time, and is now home to about 1,400 Fintechs offering a wide range of solutions as well over 40 innovation labs.”

Equity funding for Singapore Fintechs has “grown to a 5-year high of US$3.9 billion in 2021.”

With a growing number of businesses and capital seeking opportunity in each jurisdiction, now is “the right time to grow our relationship on FinTech through the establishment of a Fintech Bridge.”

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