Prudential Singapore (Prudential) and major telco StarHub have formed a partnership to launch Fasttrack Trade (FTT) -- Singapore's first digital trade platform for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) using blockchain technology. FTT is scheduled to be commercially launched in the first quarter of 2018.
The platform would allow SMEs to seek business partners and distributors, buy and sell goods, track shipments, receive and make payments, access financing and buy insurance via a single platform. The pioneering platform is being developed by FinTech startup Cites Gestion with funding from Prudential.
Under the partnership, StarHub will offer its enterprise customers access to FTT’s services while Prudential will offer insurance to help them mitigate business risks. The platform also provides alternative financing options to SMEs through Funding Societies, a peer-to-peer lender. More service providers in areas ranging from financing, business intelligence, payments and logistics are expected to join the FTT. Looking ahead, the aim is to open up the FTT to SMEs beyond Singapore.
The announcement of the partnership was made yesterday on the sidelines of the Singapore FinTech Festival.
Ms Stephanie Simonnet, Chief Partnerships Distribution Officer at Prudential Singapore, said that such insurer-telco-FinTech collaboration is the first of its kind in Singapore and opens up opportunities for all parties to reach a wider customer base with innovative business solutions, and to share expertise.Separately, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will in early 2019 roll out a global trade connectivity network (GTCN) with its Hong Kong counterpart, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The open-architecture platform uses a distributed ledger -- shared among financial institutions and regulators -- to digitise trade-finance documents and bring about significant savings.
MAS Managing Director Mr Ravi Menon said: “If Singapore is to maintain its position as one of the top financial centres in the world, it must embrace FinTech -- maximising its benefits, minimising its risks."
RegTech, as part of FinTech, is also drawing attention.
Speaking yesterday, the second day of the FinTech Conference & Exhibition which is part of the Singapore Fintech Festival, Mr Chris Giancarlo, Chairman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said that the ongoing transformation from analog to digital provides an opportunity for RegTech to grow.
RegTech is most commonly defined as the use of technology-driven innovation to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of business compliance with the increasing number of rules and regulations. “I might expand that definition further, to include the ability of regulators to become more effective and efficient in serving our missions,” he said.
The growth of RegTech, according to Mr Giancarlo, is due to four key factors:
- The exponentially increasing computing power over the prior decade
- These increasingly powerful computers can assess and analyse towers of data generated through the assistance of digital networks as well as from smart physical objects that have been equipped with data receiving sensors as part of the Internet-of-Things
- Data analytics software that has the ability to make sense of all the collected data, which can drive concrete suggestions, conclusions or action items.
- Advances in machine learning and the future state of AI can drive even more sophisticated analyses that go beyond mere automation and functions.
“RegTech can make regulatory compliance and oversight easier, cheaper and more accurate, especially on basic manual processes that can be eliminated, trails of activity that can be logged, audit functions that can be executed faster and with more complete information, suspicious behaviour or activity that can be more readily flagged and critical human resources that can be dedicated to ever more productive tasks,” he said.
“While I suspect that we are still in the early stage of its evolution, I believe that it is imperative for all stakeholders to do their part in understanding these emerging technologies and to think creatively in incorporating them in our way of doing business.”