In an effort to bolster its reputation a major player in the financial technology sector, an investment firm called the Marvelstone Group in Singapore has said it is set to open the "world's largest" fintech hub in November this year.
The facility, said to be 30,000 square-foot in size, will reportedly be a not-for-profit initiative set up to help fintech start-ups, support existing firms and develop new technology. The project is called Lattice80 and will be located in the busy Central Business District near the city stock exchange.
According to officials within the Marvelstone Group, the move comes as part of the Singapore government's 'Smart Nation Vision' – which has been billed as a way of giving local businesses greater access to data and collaborative ideas to help create innovative new technology.
At the time of writing, it remains unclear how much funding will be provided by the state. IBTimes UK contacted Lattice80 for clarification however received no response at the time of publication.
"The time is right for innovation, and people are more receptive to the use of technology in financial services," said Gina Heng, chief executive of Marvelstone Group. "Singapore, as a regional hub can also connect us to fintech globally. Lattice80 aims to support the fintech ecosystem in Asia and bridge global players to the region."
Singapore has become an attractive destination for large firms conducting fintech research in recent years. Earlier this year, PayPal expanded its research operation into the country – its first outside of the US. Reports indicate its current regulatory situation is the perfect breeding ground for such firms to experiment.
Fintech beginning to shake up banking
According to Reuters, Singapore is now viewed as more attractive to fintech investors than its main rival Hong Kong, largely due to the availability of state funding, light-touch regulation and a policy that allows start-ups to openly test financial products in controlled environments.
"Singapore, being a traditional financial and trading hub, has the legal infrastructure and access to global investors that budding fintech companies would look for," said Joe Seunghyun Cho, chairman of the Marvelstone Group, adding that advancements in financial technology will soon be viewed as a vital component of any 'smart city'.
In the UK, fintech is beginning to shake up traditional means of banking – but remains under-the-radar as monolithic institutions like the Bank of England continue to show reluctance in the embrace of virtual currency and blockchain technology.
Furthermore, in a post-Brexit Britain, reports indicate that other countries – Singapore specifically – are attracting significant interest among the tens of thousands of fintech firms currently based in London.
"We already have registered interest from UK-based companies to move to Asia as it's getting very crowded there," Markus Gnirck, partner and co-founder of tryb, a fintech consultancy told Reuters earlier this year. "Brexit will probably accelerate a few of these conversations," he claimed.