The latest global FinTech collaboration ties together Singapore and Dubai in a deal designed to encourage innovation in digital payments, online and mobile commerce, and related areas. According to a recent statement, the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have signed a deal “that provides a framework for cooperation and referrals between the innovation teams of each authority.”
Financial authorities from the two small, affluent countries said they will “develop an environment that supports the sustainable development of financial services through emerging technology,” according to the statement. “The agreement … sets out a process to share and use information on innovation in their respective markets.”
Projects expected to come before those financial authorities in Dubai and Singapore include digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, Big Data, flexible platforms (API) and other areas of new technologies.
The DFSA and MAS both belong to the recently established Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN), a group that includes 12 financial regulators from such places as the U.K., Hong Kong and Australia — along with related groups.
“The GFIN seeks to conduct joint work and share experiences of financial innovation, to improve financial stability, integrity, customer outcomes and inclusion,” the statement said.
The new Singapore-Dubai agreement builds upon a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed in 2008, which provides “a formal basis for supervisory cooperation in banking, insurance and capital markets,” according to the statement. “It [also] facilitates the exchange of information for supervisory purposes between the two authorities.”
The deal between the two countries comes as other global FinTech partnerships are being formed. In fact, there there are quite a few government initiatives pairing FinTech firms with traditional financial institutions (FIs), and Mexico recently joined that group with renewed focus. The idea in Mexico is to promote financial inclusion, given that only one third of adults in the country have a bank account. The incoming federal administration there wants to change that via digital banking and other efforts.
Similar moves are taking place across the world.
In Africa, for instance, Equity Group Holdings’ FinTech unit is reportedly “in discussions” with a half-dozen banks in Ethiopia to work together — eyeing cross-border eCommerce, with an emphasis on mobile payments. The FinTech is Finserve Africa. In an interview with the newswire, Managing Director Jack Ngare stated that the talks target the 3 million Ethiopians who live abroad and who send money home (there are eight remittance firms already signed onto the platform).
The network is also seeking to tap into Chinese trade activity in African markets, including Uganda. China is the largest partner in trade for Africa, at about $120 billion.
An example of further collaboration recently came from Visa. It recently made a strategic investment in Paidy, which offers instantly issued post-pay credit services for eCommerce consumers in Japan.
As collaborations increase, a race for patents is heating up in the FinTech sector. According to U.K.-based data insights firm Cipher, in FinTech, that race is seeing some clear winners, with large tech firms among them and traditional banks trailing. That’s not to say that FIs are just sitting on their hands. Bank of America had more than 2,500 patents granted and pending last year. Of those, nearly 1,000 patent “families” were tied to banking IT, and more than 500 were linked to data processing technologies.