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The FinTech Nation: Excellence Unlocked in Singapore


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  • Description
  • About the Authors
  • Singapore's FinTech journey has been a story of relentless pursuit of excellence to build a global financial service hub with limited means and lots of aspirations. The slogan of "Dream big. Start small. Move fast" has rallied regulators, startups, investors, corporates and everyone else to achieve a common goal.

    One of the critical superpowers of Singapore is a national character built on survival instinct and a distinctive obsession with being successful. Singaporeans by nature are kiasu (a Hokkien word which can be loosely translated to fear of missing out), and they wear it as a badge of honour. Being kiasu drives Singaporeans to be constantly paranoid, doing everything they can to achieve success. It creates a certain fanaticism about meritocracy and instils a belief that one can never be complacent.

    In a regulated industry, our fear is our biggest strength, pushing us to comply with a wide range of ever-evolving regulations. The durable social fabric supports an adherence to order and authority. It proves to be a significant asset when it comes to developing and supporting a heavily regulated industry like financial services.

    Singapore attracts people across the region to build their ventures in the domains of finance and technology. This book traces Singapore's journey from 2015 till today starting with establishment of regional hubs and globalisation of FinTech innovation. The key principles which established Singapore as a FinTech Nation have been an obsession with excellence referred to as RFFL (Right First, Fast Later), a unique model of economic and legal policies known as Singanomics and lastly, an organised and controlled model of a new idea development termed Garden Innovation.

  • Varun Mittal is a seasoned professional adept at the cross-section of digital business building and financial services in Southeast Asia and global emerging markets. He has developed and implemented strategy, technology rollout, ecosystem management, and regulatory engagement for financial institutions and digital and internet technology companies.

    He serves as the Chief Digital Officer and Chief Innovation Officer at Singlife, managing digital products, platforms and ecosystems for insurance, payments and financial advisory business verticals. Earlier in his career, he served as a Partner at EY, leading global emerging markets fintech and ASEAN digital banking practice supporting fintech startups, financial institutions and regulators. Previously, he was part of the founding team at helloPay (acquired by ANT Financial, Alibaba Group), led payments for Samsung in ASEAN and developed regional mobile payment solutions at Singtel Group. Varun undertook his MBA at the National University of Singapore and graduated as a computer science engineer.

    As an avid investor in startups in Southeast Asia, he has invested in over 50 startups with five exits through his investment vehicle, Boleh Capital. He is the founder of the Fintech Nation, a not-for-profit platform comprising a book, mentorship platform and investment fund (Fintech Nation Fund) to support the fintech ecosystem in Singapore. As an accomplished author, he has written multiple books covering the journey and evolution of Singapore as a global fintech hub. He has been awarded as one of the top ten people in Singapore Fintech by the Monetary Authority of Singapore in 2019 and 2021.

    Dr Lillian Koh, PhD has dedicated her life to education and impact work. She began her career at the Ministry of Education and taught post-graduate courses at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Singapore. She was Advisor to the NTU Investment Interactive Club and Chair of the Center for Financial Literacy at National Institute of Education, leading successful financial education programmes for schools and institutes of higher learning in Singapore. She was Faculty Associate at A*STAR and Principal Investigator of research grants at NTU. After these 34 years, she served as the Director of Research at Curtin University, Singapore. She founded Fintech Academy, which spearheads talent development programmes and certifications for fintech, in collaboration with universities and Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF). Her contribution to national service includes serving as Advisor to Talent Programme at the Singapore FinTech Association in the early days as well as Advisor to the Institute of Blockchain Singapore. Appointed International Consultant by the World Bank, she was also consultant to National Healthcare Group, Pearson, Citigroup and UNESCO.

    She is also the Director of the Center for Research and Innovation @ NTUitive, a spin-off of NTU and is Advisor to Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Singapore. Dr Koh co-authored Singapore: The Fintech Nation one of the first books about Singapore's financial technology journey and also the first International Handbook of Financial Literacy by Springer.

ISBN: 9789811250286 (Paperback), 9789811249150 (Hardcover)
Cover Type: Paperback
Page Count: 372
Year Published: 2023