Brexit offers S'pore chance to attract UK fintech talent: MAS

Mr Mohanty's Brexit comments were made at the Fintech Festival, which has attracted around 11,000 participants from more than 50 countries. Above: Festival attendees interacting at the DBS Innovation Facility on Monday.
Mr Mohanty's Brexit comments were made at the Fintech Festival, which has attracted around 11,000 participants from more than 50 countries. Above: Festival attendees interacting at the DBS Innovation Facility on Monday. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

The United Kingdom leaving the European Union is opening up an opportunity for Singapore to recruit talent for its ambitious plans to become a leading financial technology hub, said chief fintech officer of Singapore's central bank yesterday.

"First thing after Brexit happened, we talked about talent - talent coming out of the UK," said Mr Sopnendu Mohanty of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) during a panel discussion at the nation's first Fintech Festival.

"I agree they have a huge pool of talent, and it's good to have something like that so we can take some talent out."

Britain's economic secretary to the treasury, Mr Simon Kirby, one of the officials in attendance, told the audience that London will remain a leading financial centre, though he acknowledged that Singapore might be able to lure some of the talent.

"Brexit is an opportunity, not a risk," Mr Kirby said.

Mr Mohanty said Singapore was making its own efforts to develop talent, building a research centre dedicated to fintech and retraining people from the financial industry.

There is a pressing need to learn new skills, Mr Mohanty stressed, as "financial services in five to 10 years' time will be called 'fintech'".

Some 11,000 participants - including software giant Microsoft and global banks such as Citibank and Standard Chartered - from more than 50 countries gathered for the fintech event.

It was organised by the MAS to create a platform for financial institutions, fintech start-ups and investors to network and explore new innovations that can make financial services more efficient in the digital era.

"The festival will foster the thriving fintech ecosystem in Singapore and beyond, as we strive towards establishing Singapore as a smart financial centre and a world-class fintech hub," Mr Mohanty said as the event kicked off on Monday.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2016, with the headline 'Brexit offers S'pore chance to attract UK fintech talent: MAS'. Print Edition | Subscribe