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Conferences and Speeches

Singapore FinTech Festival 2019

Monday, November 11, 2019 {ml-event-to} Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Morgan Lewis is pleased to participate in the upcoming annual Singapore FinTech Festival at the Singapore EXPO, November 11–13. The conference, which is billed as the biggest fintech event in the world, attracts more than 60,000 participants from 130 countries.

This year the conference invites government decisionmakers, thought leaders, and investors from around the globe to investigate and discuss issues of sustainability, finance and tech, the future of finance, investment and global markets opportunities, and exponential technologies.

Look for our Morgan Lewis team—Wai Ming Yap, Edward Bennett, and Joel Seow—at events and on the floor.

Day 3 of the Singapore FinTech Festival

Today we headed into the final day of the conference. The last two days have been packed full of exciting events and announcements, and perhaps the organizers left the best for last! While many of the events in the last two days were about themes relating to fintech today, many of the Day 3 discussions had a decidedly forward-looking focus.

Topics covered included the future of central banks, inspiration for the future, how tokenization might take over the world, future-proofing a financial advisory business model, the future of cities, securing the futures of 9 million people (in Singapore), the future of technology, business without borders, and the future of mobility.

In a speech by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Heng Swee Keat, and as part of Singapore’s new “National AI Strategy,” Minister Heng announced five new projects to help Singapore stay up to speed with technology and to harness technology to transform the economy and improve people’s lives. Minister Heng noted that in the not too distant future, it will be possible for people living in Singapore to report municipal issues via a chatbot, which would ask for details and identify the appropriate government agency to deal with the issue.

Several other major announcements were made on Days 2 and 3 of the event, including the following:

  • A collaboration was announced to establish a new fintech research platform where investors and financial institutions can connect with fintech startups
  • A global open-architecture platform announced that it was able to build a digital bank in just five days by collaborating with 10 fintech application programming interfaces (APIs)
  • Improved linkage and collaboration with French and Canadian markets were reported by MAS
  • A payments issuer processor is launching a new Asia-Pacifc hub in Singapore

It was a great three days at the conference. We were told that this year’s event was the largest to date, and if the attendance and energy are anything to go by, we can expect even bigger and better in 2020. Make sure to mark your calendars for November 9–13, 2020!

Day 2 of the Singapore FinTech Festival

Another full house to kick off the second day of events at the Singapore FinTech Festival! First up was a panel comprising US tech giants speaking about current and future use cases of technology, exciting new trends, and the “war” for talent. The next session discussed sustainability in financial services, reminding the audience of how much more potential and work there is to bring the ESG/SDG/sustainability goals into organisations. An insightful panel about the future of digital currency followed. The audience was not disappointed, and gained a rare insight into the thought processes and priorities for China and Cambodia in the digital currency space.

For the rest of the afternoon, participants chose from the same six thematic parallel stages of talks and panel discussions from Day One, but with new topics and new speakers. Apart from the main events, there were dozens of events taking place all day in sponsor booths covering a range of topics including Deep Tech, AI, Blockchain to Smart Contracts, Data Analytics, Open Banking, Sandbox Applications, and much more.

Some interesting things we heard today:

  • With AI and facial recognition widely available today, what is the price of security?
  • Data Storage: From carving in stone to writing in DNA?
  • Are you a self-disruptor?

Day 1 of the Singapore FinTech Festival

This is the fourth successive year that the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) has been held, and what a start it has been! The theme this year is “Singapore: Re-Imagining FinTech,” and the event will see a weeklong series of fintech events covering the main conference and exhibition, fintech awards, and the global FinTech Hackelerator Demo Day, Global Investor Summit, and Innovation Lab Crawl. The event will feature more than 400 speakers, 900-plus exhibitors, 41 international pavilions, and 60,000 participants from 130 countries, ranging from C-Suite executives from financial institutions, innovators, technologists, and startups to investors, academia, unicorns, and delegations from various countries.

With an emphasis on sustainability, climate change, and green finance, Day 1 kicked off with opening talks given by Ravi Menon (managing director, MAS), Pavan Sukhdev (president, WWF International), and Minister Ong Ye Kung (board member, MAS). In the afternoon, there were six parallel stages of talks and panel discussions on the following topics:

  • Sustainability, Finance, and Tech
  • Future of Finance
  • Investment and Global Markets Opportunities
  • Exponential Technologies
  • The Himalayas (FinTech Hackcelerator)
  • Coral Triangle

Key announcements related to a new MAS US$2 billion green investment fund investing in funds with a green investment focus, new green finance initiatives, and an upcoming MAS consultation on ESG guidelines for financial institutions. Various organizations also took the opportunity to announce a slew of new products and initiatives, including a blockchain-based prototype that allows payments to be made in different currencies on the same network.

Stay tuned for further updates from the SFF this week!