At Lattice80, a non-profit fintech hub in Singapore, Ueli Maurer, a Finance Minister of Switzerland, expressed his optimism over the relationship between Switzerland and Singapore in fintech development.
Speaking to a local publication, Maurer stated:
“Singapore’s fintech sector is on a high level and we have to learn from you. We can continue this sense of cooperation between Singapore and Switzerland. We are not competitors and we can cooperate together.”
Similarities between Switzerland and Singapore
Singapore and Switzerland are similar to each other in the sense that they both are small countries but are major financial hubs in their respective continents. Singapore is the leading force of fintech and Blockchain development in Asia while Switzerland is known as one of the largest financial centers in Europe.
In July of 2016, the UK formed a fintech investment partnership or a “fintech bridge” with South Korea with the vision of allowing startups in both countries to grow at a rapid rate with increased capital flow and investments.
"The newly established fintech bridge between the UK and the Republic of Korea is an important step for one of this country's most exciting industries. The government is determined to help the UK fintech sector to innovate and grow and to ensure that Britain remains the location of choice for fintech start-ups,” said Philip Hammond, Britain's new finance minister, at the time.
Essentially and structurally, Singapore has a similar relationship with Switzerland. Both countries are leading a tight partnership in order to provide a practical ecosystem in terms of regulation and investment to their local fintech startups. Switzerland and its Finance Minister Ueli Maurer are particularly optimistic toward their partnership with Singapore due to the country’s exceptionally high level of understanding in fintech and other emerging technologies.
During an interview at Lattice80, Maurer emphasized that regulators and startups in Switzerland are benefiting from Singapore’s fintech scene that is at a significantly higher level in comparison to other countries. He reaffirmed that there are many learning points for Swiss startups and regulators to consider.
“It is important to have good relationships and today is a step to network between the two countries. I think it is important that small countries which are important financial centers have this network and understand the need to cooperate,” said Maurer.
As a response to Maurer’s comments on the Singaporean fintech scene, Gina Heng, co-founder of Lattice80 and CEO of Marvelstone Group, stated that the country also has a supportive government and practical regulatory ecosystem for startups to grow.
“They see this as a central location to kick-start their companies. There’s good infrastructure and legal system, with a supportive government. We are also near to many countries which makes it easier in terms of outreach.”
Why Switzerland pushes for tight relationship with Singapore
The fintech industry of Singapore is praised by some of the largest banks and financial institutions across the world, including UBS, DBS and Citibank.
In the past few years, the three multi-billion dollar banks established innovation labs and investment groups in Singapore worth hundreds of millions of dollars after seeing a massive potential in its fintech market.
Some early investment firms and private hedge funds have allocated billions of dollars over a period of four years to provide financial stability to Singaporean fintech startups. Overtime, Singapore transformed into a major fintech hub for startups and large-scale corporations.