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UK Government Forges First Ever ‘FinTech Bridge’ with Singapore

Coordination of international standards and regulations key to allowing innovation in financial services.

Following a set of announcements last month around the UK Government’s FinTech innovation strategy, more details yesterday emerged of HMT and UKTI’s ‘FinTech Bridges’ initiative, intended to help UK FinTechs expand in priority markets. The first of such bridges has been built with Singapore. UK and Singaporean Government officials gathered at Downing Street to witness the signing of a regulatory cooperation agreement between the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

The agreement will enable each regulator to refer FinTech companies to one another and involves information sharing related to financial innovation in respective markets. Information sharing will make it easier for both entrants and incumbents to access new markets as well as allowing innovation to proliferate more quickly as markets and regulators will not have to re-invent the wheel across geographies. The bridge with Singapore is the first of its kind although it follows similar agreements with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) signed in Sydney earlier this year. It will be interesting to note what UKTI’s role will be in supporting FinTech bridges as they are not referenced in the latest release.

Commenting on the developments, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin, stated: ‘Forging this bridge with Singapore is the next step on our journey to ensure that the UK and Singapore both remain outstanding FinTech centres.’

Similarly, Christopher Woolard, Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA, remarked that the agreement will ‘help innovative firms from Singapore that want to bring new ideas to the UK, helping the FCA fulfil our objective of promoting competition in the interests of consumers. At the same time, this agreement will give those British firms with new ideas who want to expand into Singapore support, making them potentially more sustainable challengers in the UK.’

techUK welcomes the initiative and has long called for the coordination of international standards and regulations which will allow innovation to proliferate in our financial services system. As the FCA is considered a growing leader in global Fintech regulation, this leadership needs to be extended to more formal agreements across the world’s regulatory ecosystem. In pursuing such coordination, regulators should also be mindful of considering innovative ideas consistently and the imperative to minimise unnecessary regulatory burden.


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