The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has revealed a SGD $125m ($87m) support package which will support the financial services and FinTech sectors during the coronavirus pandemic.
It will use the funds to position financial institutions and FinTechs for strong growth once the threat of the virus recedes and economic activity returns to normal.
There are three main components, supporting workforce training and manpower costs, strengthening digitalisation and operational resilience, and enhancing FinTech firms’ access to digital platforms and tools.
Additionally, the regulator is launching the new Training Allowance Grant (TAG) which will encourage FIs and FinTechs to make use of downtime in business activity to train and deepen capabilities of employees. It will also be available to support Singapore citizens and permanent residents outside of the financial services and FinTech sectors.
The grant will offer SGD $10 an hour for self-sponsored individuals and SGD $15 per hour for employees sponsored by FIs and FinTechs.
Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) and MAS will collaborate to increase course fee subsidiaries, which will be disbursed in advance to help alleviate cash flow challenges firms and individuals may face. Over 400 IBF-accredited courses are available online and plans are to expand virtual offerings to meet training needs.
MAS is also doubling the salary support for FIs to hire fresh graduates or workers from other sectors and place them in talent development programmes under the Finance Associate Management Scheme (FAMS). FAMS is a talent development initiative which helps train people for management roles in the financial services space.
Furthermore, MAS is establishing a new Digital Acceleration Grant (DAG) which aims to support the digitalisation of smaller financial institutions and FinTechs. The DAG will help firms implement digital solutions which bolster resilience, processing efficiency and customer service.
Digitalisation tools included in this are document collaboration solutions and virtual conferencing systems.
There will be two tracks for the DAG. The first is the institution project track which supports 80% of qualifying expenses for the adoption of digital solution, up to a cap of SGD $120,000 ($84,000) per entity.
The second is the industry pilot track which supports collaborations among a minimum of three small FIs to customise digital solutions for implementation within their institutions, by co-funding 80% of qualifying expenses, capped at SGD $100,000 per participating FI.
MAS is also set to provide all Singapore-based FinTech firms six months’ free access to API Exchange (APIX), an online global marketplace and sandbox for collaboration and sales. Through APIX, FinTech firms and FIs can integrate and test solutions via a cloud-based architecture.
Finally, MAS is looking to collaborate with the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) to create a new digital self-assessment framework for MAS’ Outsourcing and TRM Guidelines hosted on APIX. By completing a self-assessment, FinTechs can provide a first-level assurance to FIs about the quality of their solutions.
MAS Deputy managing director Jacqueline Loh said, “We have significantly enhanced existing initiatives and introduced new schemes to help our FIs and FinTech firms not only navigate the current headwinds but at the same time build deeper competencies, skills, and networks, so that we can emerge stronger for the longer term. We encourage FIs, FinTech firms and financial sector professionals to actively tap on these opportunities.”
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