Singapore is a global financial centre located in Southeast Asia. It has received titles for being the best competitive economy, technology-ready nation, world’s safest country, and the list goes on. Singapore has rapidly developed its economy after becoming a sovereign state.
Singapore is a global hub for education, finance, healthcare, innovation, manufacturing, technology, tourism, trade, and transport. It is the third-largest financial centre. It is also the only country in Asia to have a AAA sovereign rating from all the major rating agencies. Singapore is placed highly in key social indicators: education, healthcare, quality of life, personal safety and housing. Singapore’s largest companies are in the telecoms, banking, transportation and manufacturing sectors, many of which started as state-run enterprises, and has since been listed on the Singapore Exchange, including Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel), Singapore Technologies Engineering, Keppel Corporation, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), Development Bank of Singapore (DBS), United Overseas Bank (UOB). Singapore’s central bank opened applications for digital banking licenses to companies outside of the financial services sector. The Monetary Authority of Singapore will issue two full digital banking licenses and three wholesale ones, with companies having until the end of 2019 to apply. It expects to announce the successful applicants in mid-2020 and services to be launched during 2021.
This move by Singapore ensures that the banking sector continues to be resilient, competitive and vibrant by the addition of new players. There is a criterion outlined by the authorities which the applicants must meet, includes minimum capital requirements, provable business track records, solid business plans and proper management. A key criterion for eligibility is that the company must be headquartered and controlled by Singaporean Nationals. This move by Singapore will strengthen its finances and markets where the global markets are failing.