Singapore, Japan fintech associations to work on joint projects

SINGAPORE - The Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) and the Fintech Association of Japan (FAJ) have inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to foster greater fintech cooperation, both bodies said in a joint statement on Monday (March 26).

This partnership will be used to raise the profile of the Japanese fintech industry, and promote Singapore as a destination for Japanese businesses within Asia.

It will also see the two associations collaborating on joint projects to support fintech innovation and development, with members benefiting from the exchange of expertise in a bid to nurture global business opportunities.

The signing of the agreement was celebrated with a "friendship evening and sake tasting" in Singapore on March 13, 2018 at the Money 20/20 conference.

SFA's president, Chia Hock Lai, said that the aim of this partnership is to bridge the gap between the two fintech communities in Singapore and Japan.

Separately, FAJ's vice-chairman, Natalie Shiori Fleming, said that she looked forward to "growing synergies" through a deeper relationship with the Singapore fintech community.

This alliance comes as the governments in both nations seek to enhance fintech capabilities in their respective countries.

According to the joint statement, the Financial Services Agency of Japan has updated its legislation to enable established banks and non-bank fintech companies to collaborate.

In the same vein, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) established the Industry Transformation Map (ITM) in 2017, outlining fintech innovation as a growth strategy.

In October last year, MAS board member and education minister, Ong Ye Kung, announced that the ITM "aims to create 3,000 net jobs in financial services, and an additional 1,000 net jobs in the fintech sector annually".

Additionally, data from KPMG's Pulse of Fintech report shows that fintech funding in Singapore reached a record US$229 million in 2017.

Thus, this latest agreement between Singapore and Japan was signed to capitalise on opportunities in these markets.

The SFA is a cross-industry, non-profit organisation designed to facilitate collaboration among all stakeholders in the fintech ecosystem, and has over 125 members.

The FAJ promotes open innovation in the Japanese fintech industry by creating networking opportunities for members, and cooperating with different organisations. It has over 300 members, and represents over 100 fintech companies in Japan.