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School of Information Systems organises Fintech showcase and conference

SMU’s Master of IT in Business programme (MITB) and U.S. Embassy Singapore have co-organised the SMU MITB - U.S. Fintech Solutions Showcase Conference which took place at the Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium on 15 November 2016.

In his Welcome Remarks, U.S. Ambassador to Singapore the Honourable Kirk Wagar said, “Programmes like this are a perfect demonstration of the strong ties and continued collaboration between USA and Singapore, as we continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic ties and the 180th anniversary of the first consul-general to Singapore.”

He noted that Asia Pacific is the second largest region in the world for Fintech investment. In 2014, the investment was about US$800million, which grew to US$4.3 billion by the end of 2015. He highlighted the importance of financial inclusion, saying that “In ASEAN, only 50% of adults have bank accounts, only 29% of people receive their salary in the form of cheque or direct deposit, 30% of adults of have debit cards, only 9% has a credit card. [With financial inclusion] we can help adults and families save money, work their way out of poverty, and streamline the most basic government services.”

Speaking on “Global FinTech Trends...A Banking Perspective”, Mr Sanjeev Mehra, MD and Head of Global Product Development for Global Consumer Technology at Citibank said that despite the threat of disruption from Fintech, he sees tremendous opportunities for incumbents like Citibank. Incumbents have established brands and the trust of regulators and customers. They also possess institutional knowledge of markets / products / processes, and have the ability to use technology for disruption. To avoid being consigned to the ash heap of history, Mr Mehra suggested four levers for banks to be able to disrupt: Culture & Talent, which includes fostering a culture of ‘Intrapreneurship’ and establishing competitive centers of innovation; Open Up and be part of the Fintech ecosystem; Perceptual Scale, which includes setting up channels and touch points, digital and otherwise, at strategic locations to create a larger perceived presence, as well as having a Simplified Technology Framework.

In his speech on “Successful Go to Market Strategy: From Local to Global”, Mr Greg Vanclief, MD, Global Investments, Wesley Clover International said companies should go global as quickly as possible. “You can build a business on a local market, but it is very difficult in today’s age to build a successful company on a local market. If you are not global, you will invariably fall in the wake of larger companies or faster companies who are spreading their wings around the world ahead of you.” Companies should think of the global market as the domestic market from Day One. To achieve success, Mr Vanclief advised that companies should be incubated and mentored by long-term investors, and to look for incubators/angel investors with global presence and large networks of startups and client base.

The SMU School of Computing and Information Systems featured its new Master of IT in Business Financial Technology (FinTech) programme at the Conference. To be launched in August 2017, MITB (FinTech) is the first of its kind in Singapore and the world that blends traditional and emerging disruptive financial technology together with business knowledge and innovation. Students of the course will be gain skills and knowledge in areas such as Digital Banking & Fintech, Assets Management & Digital Advisory, as well as Big Data Analytics in Financial Services.

In his speech, SCIS Associate Professor Paul Griffin, who is also the Assistant Director of MITB Financial Technology programme, shared that there is a rapidly growing number of new job opportunities in FinTech. The MITB FinTech courses not only includes the latest FinTech technologies but also places them alongside traditional financial technology aligned to banking domains. The courses are designed and delivered by industry experts with each course having hands-on components using leading industry tools such as Ethereum. Exciting collaborations, internships and projects with large companies such as OCBC and UOB in areas including Big Data and Blockchain provide the students with exposure to finance companies leading to many good job placements. Supporting the MITB programme, SMU has an excellent FinTech eco-system with applied and fundamental research, innovation and entrepreneurship, short professional courses and an enthusiastic FinTech student club. The MITB FinTech programme continually adapts to the evolving FinTech landscape teaching the depth and breadth of financial technology for anyone interested to learn and practice FinTech.

There were also presentations by Mr Peter Fowler, Regional IP Attaché, United States Patent & Trademark Office American Embassy Bangkok, Thailand who spoke on “Protecting your IP in the Fintech Industry”, and Mr Kevin Johnson, Senior Vice President of Economic Development, Invest Atlanta who spoke about the role of cities in promoting the Fintech industry.

The conference concluded with a showcase of their innovative financial technology solutions by leading U.S. Fintech companies Above & Beyond, Express Wealth Group, Lillii RNB Inc, Pangea Money Transfer, Tadley Asia Limited, and Wall Street Capital Partners.

Last updated on 15 Jan 2021 .