Singapore looks to plug data gap in fintech investments

Monetary Authority of Singapore has joined hands with Deloitte and S&P Global Market Intelligence in efforts to build a 'research platform', so investors and financial institutions can access information about fintech startups that they view as prospective investments.

Singapore is looking to plug data gaps so investors can more easily access information they need to identify fintech startups they can potentially work with. The aim here is to improve transparency and boost investor confidence through a centralised data platform, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said.

The industry regulator is partnership up with Deloitte and S&P Global Market Intelligence to build a prototype for a "fintech research platform" to help investors and financial institutions connect with startups they could invest in or work with. 

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Pointing to Deloitte's own analysis, the partners said in a joint statement Tuesday that investors currently have to depend on informal networks to identify potential opportunities as they lack access to reliable and updated corporate information for fintech startups. This gap limits their understanding of companies in which they were keen to invest, MAS said.

With the proposed research platform, they aim to provide details of fintech startups including their business models, use cases, funding, and technology deployments. This access to "aggregated third-party and self-reported data", encompassing the source of each data point, would increase transparency and, hence, improve investor confidence in fintech startups, the partners said. 

In addition, the ability to easily compare fintech companies on a centralised data platform would better support their decision-making process and prioritise startups based on parameters that investors value most. 

MAS' chief fintech officer Sopnendu Mohanty said: "We believe the deployment of capital in startups, particularly those offering business-to-business solutions, can be vastly improved by enhancing transparency and increasing the confidence in data on early-stage companies."

Mohanty added that the authority hoped to tap the new platform alongside its cloud-based API Exchange (APIX) platform, which it developed in collaboration with World Bank's International Finance Cooperation and ASEAN Bankers Association. Launched last year, the APIX was built to offer a globally curated fintech marketplace through which financial institutions and fintech startups could connect. It also aimed to provide a sandbox environment, integrated with the marketplace, to enable these companies to jointly run experiments in different scenarios using synthetic data.  

Thomas Yagel, S&P Global Market Intelligence's managing director of corporates and governments segments, said: "Technology and data are fundamental to the financial industry and capital markets. We are very excited to be working with MAS and Deloitte to design a solution that meets a growing market need and help fintech companies to unlock opportunities in the ASEAN region."

Blockchain multi-currency payout

In a separate statement Monday, MAS said it had developed a blockchain-based platform that enabled multi-currency payments on the same network. Built in collaboration with Temasek Holdings and J.P. Morgan, the blockchain-powered network currently was being tested by industry players to assess its ability to integrate with commercial blockchain applications. 

This latest development marked the fifth phase of the initiative, codenamed Project Ubin, which followed MAS's recent collaboration with The Bank of Canada to evaluate alternative models for cross-border payments using blockchain and central bank digital currencies. The payments network would offer interfaces for other blockchain networks to connect and integrate as well as features to support use cases, such as Delivery-versus-Payment (DvP) settlement with private exchanges, conditional payments and escrow for trade.

This latest stage of the project aimed to determine the commercial viability and value of the blockchain-based payments network, according to MAS, which--alongside its partners--had engaged more than 40 financial and non-financial companies to explore the potential benefits of the network.

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