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MAS reviews rules on venture capital to bolster fintech goals

SINGAPORE — The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is reviewing the regulatory policy framework around venture capital (VC) funds setting up their base here as the Republic aims to broaden the scope of funding for start-ups in financial technology (fintech).

SINGAPORE — The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is reviewing the regulatory policy framework around venture capital (VC) funds setting up their base here as the Republic aims to broaden the scope of funding for start-ups in financial technology (fintech).

Shortage of capital and tech talent are the two key challenges as Singapore works to position itself as one of Asia’s top locations for fintech companies, Mr Ravi Menon, MAS managing director, said as he announced the official opening of the regulator’s own fintech innovation lab on Wednesday (Aug 24).

“In terms of capital, we are lagging the leading centres (when it comes to funding opportunities for tech start-ups),” Mr Menon said.

To address that, the MAS plans to review the regulatory requirements on VC funds. “Our policy framework is evolving,” he added.

The annual growth rate of venture capital and private funding here is 30 per cent, even as the Government — through agencies like the SPRING enterprise organisation and National Research Foundation (NRF) — tries to plug the funding gaps.

“There are few things that we need to get right,” Mr Menon said. “Our talent pipeline needs to be considerably strengthened. Innovation and technology will happen.”

He also said that MAS hopes to maximise the number of Singaporeans who can take the fintech jobs. “It means ... working with the polytechnics, universities to make sure we have strong future talent pipelines,” he said.

Mr Menon said that Singapore is now widely regarded as one of the top five financial centres in the world and that it needs to continue to grow.

Technology, he said, is the future of Singapore’s economy and its financial services sector.

“Our fintech agenda is premised on harnessing technology and innovation,” Mr Menon said.

Located in the MAS Building, the fintech innovation lab, Looking Glass @ MAS, will allow the regulator to experiment with fintech solutions by working with financial institutions, start-ups, and technology vendors. It will also facilitate consultations for start-ups by industry experts on areas of interest such as legal, regulation and business-related matters, and provide a venue for relevant training sessions and networking activities for the fintech community.

Mr Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at MAS, said: “MAS has been encouraging financial institutions to anchor their innovation labs in Singapore.... Looking Glass @ MAS will serve as a platform for the fintech community to connect, collaborate and co-create with one another.”

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