What happened at SFF? The festival in 10 takeaways

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If I tell you 60,000 attendees, 850 Experts speakers, 500 Exhibitors, and 110 countries represented. Does it ring any bells? Of course, it’s the Singapore Fintech Festival. But as much as the festival is interesting, it is impossible to follow everything that is happening there. We decided to list 10 key takeaways that are worth remembering from the week. Promised, it’s not just about the fintech talks on stage.

The Managing Director of the MAS introduced 5 latest collaborative projects of the Singapore government in a very philosophical manner. 

(Global Plenary) FinTech in its Element: Water, Metal, Fire, Wood, Earth

Perhaps the biggest moment at SFF was delivered by Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), who introduced 5 latest collaborative projects of the Singapore government in a very philosophical manner.    

Very skillfully, he linked the key innovative outcomes to ‘Wu Xing’ philosophy where Instant remittance should flow like ‘water’ (Project Nexus); Atomic settlement via wholesale CBDCs should be strong and secure like ‘metal’ (Project Ubin+); like ‘fire’ MAS will reshape money into new forms including Purpose-bound Money (Project Orchid); like ‘wood’ Tokenised assets should be grown and nurtured while their risks are properly managed (Project Guardian); lastly, Trusted sustainability data should be the solid ‘earth’-like foundation for green and transition finance (Project Greenprint).

Click here to find the full speech of the section!

(Global Plenary) FinTech in its Element: Water, Metal, Fire, Wood, Earth, Image Credit: Vulcan Post

A strong focus on digital currencies, the stars of the festival.

(Knowledge Plenary) Digital Currencies: What Stays, What Goes, and What Grows?

On the topic of what’s next for digital currencies, Jo Yeo, MAS Head of Payments Development & Data Connectivity, moderated a special discussion by representatives of Crypto.com, Eric Anziano and of Circle, Dante Disparte, where the community could be reassured the future of digital assets is very bright. 

They have certainly brought vibrant thought leadership on the need for variety and diversity in the space, the greater adoption of stablecoins and CBDCs, and the future existence of physical cash.

(Knowledge Plenary) Digital Currencies: What Stays, What Goes, and What Grows?, Image Credit: Singapore Fintech Festival

(Global Plenary) Stablecoins: The Future that is your Money

Jo Yeo from MAS again moderated a fire plenary with the legend CZ himself calling from Lisbon and Paxos co-founder Richmond Teo, bringing the enthusiasm about stablecoins to a new level during SFF. The 5000 seat hall was totally filled, about which CZ later tweeted ‘We might still be in a bear market, but these conferences are not getting smaller’. The famous duo who developed the newly licensed stablecoin BUSD also discussed the future powered by Web3, digital assets and how high tax rates and tight regulation might not benefit the industry.

Read more about CZ’s comments here.

(Global Plenary) Stablecoins: The Future that is your Money, Image Credit: Singapore Fintech Festival

Building viable business models is key to keep the industry growing.

(Global Plenary) Stick, twist or fold?

This very question was asked to the panellists Kristo Käärmann, Co-founder & CEO of Wise, and Julian Teicke, Founder & CEO of wefox. It is very hard for fintech entrepreneurs to make decisions in a period of economic slowdown, where funding is limited.

Business models are being challenged and strategies need to be adjusted. However, the panellists concluded that whatever the business model and growth strategy adopted, an innovation mindset must remain a priority. Panellists shared how they think on making their business models more viable.

In terms of hiring, Wise will continue to focus on profitability rather than fundraising. In terms of KPIs, Julian mentioned valuation for Wefox started at 80x revenue, 50x last year and currently trading at 8-10x revenue.

(Global Plenary) Stick, twist or fold?, Image Credit: CFTE

Inspiring discussions around resilience, purpose and climate.

(Global Plenary) The Social Compass – Purposeful & Progressive Entrepreneurship

On the second day of SFF, Anthony Tan, CEO of Grab took to the stage alongside Sonam Wangchuk, Founder of the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives and Manisha Tank from CNN to talk about ‘The Social Compass’ for entrepreneurs. Despite different business backgrounds and geographies, both agreed that purpose should be as big a priority as profit. Tan also announced Grab’s endeavour to reach Net Zero by 2040, and said ‘Progressive leadership is about creating significant positive change in a lasting way’.

Click here to read more about Grab’s ESG goals!

(Global Plenary) The Social Compass – Purposeful & Progressive Entrepreneurship, Image Credit: Singapore Fintech Festival

A series of roundtables to address important questions.

Elevandi Insights Forum

When the Singapore FinTech Festival advertised itself as ‘A year’s worth of learning and connections concentrated into 3 Days’, they were probably talking about the 21 Elevandi Rountables. These private, invite-only, deep-dive discussions among Senior Government Officials like Central Bankers, Financial Conduct Authorities and C-level executives such as Digital Bank CEOs, aim at developing the next steps to tackle major challenges in Fintech. 

Digital assets and ESG have stolen the spotlight this year with 7 forums on Crypto and CBDCs and 10 on how to build a viable, responsible and inclusive digital economy. 2 upskilling roundtables emphasised the urgent need for collaboration across sectors with Singapore IBF’s subsidy being frequently mentioned as an amazing example. Among the two, one was hosted by CFTE to address the growing skills gap in financial services. 

21 reports are being produced by Elevandi knowledge partners and will be published in December. 

Elevandi Insights Forum, Image Credit: CFTE

An ever-stronger Fintech community. 

(Product announcement stage)

The product announcements and showcase stage is a big part of the ecosystem strengthening effort by SFF2022. Not only do government initiatives get announced but high profile training providers can also introduce their programmes to those interested in entering the Fintech job market. 

Some highlights include Singapore Ministry of Finance’s digitalised Banker’s Guarantees And Insurance Bonds; Atome Buy Now Pay Later expansion to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia thanks to Airwallex partnership; Standard Chartered Bank’s e-commerce solution of Payouts-As-A-Service available in India, Malaysia, Singapore, the UAE, and the UK; and Cake DeFi launching institutional services for portfolio diversification. 

CFTE was pleased to release the SHIME Skills Framework, a qualitative tool to assess and identify the new skills in Fintech. 

Product announcement stage, Image Credit: CFTE

Entrepreneurship is still the backbone of Fintech.

(Founders Peak)

Another unique Ecosystem Stage is the Founders Peak series of inspiring stories from the bold visionaries such as Chainalysis co-founder Jonathan Levin or Serey Chea from the National Bank of Cambodia. The Stage has successfully connected audiences with different perspectives of entrepreneurship through ‘100% REAL, UNTOLD and narrated LIVE by the hero’. 

Their stories resonate with the Mindset and the Soft skills much needed to succeed in a fast evolving business world but also ambiguous and uncertain political and social environment. Most importantly, the honest sharing helps strengthen the Inclusive theme of this year’s festival.  

Click here to look for your favourite ‘heroes’ and their story

Founders Peak, Image credit: Linkedin

A bit of hype and dream with innovation lab crawls.

Innovation Lab Crawl

26 Innovation Labs happening across Singapore presented a unique opportunity to catch a glimpse into what payments companies, investment funds and global banks are cooking. It could be an NFT of futuristic Singapore in the metaverse (BNY Mellon APAC Innovation Center), 12 brilliant GreenTech ideas powered by UOB Finlab, a Voxel Avatar (yeah, it’s “volume” and “pixel” combined) to play games in the metaverse (DBS Asia X), or business cards with embedded smart contract features for the smart city lifestyle (Visa Innovation Center)…

Overall the labs gave us all impressive experiences of the leading-edge technologies in finance, and tremendous excitement for what all the exhibitors at SFF had to offer. 

See the full list of labs here and follow them on Linkedin for product updates!

A common theme among the sponsors and exhibitors.

(Sponsors and exhibitors)

Fintech or blockchain – who were the biggest sponsors?

Over 500 exhibitors joined the world’s largest Fintech reunion during the 3 days. 30% of them were Technology companies, mainly Data and Analytics, Payments and APIs, representing the areas that have considerably matured in the ecosystem. 

Of all SFF’s satellite events like Fintech Hackcelerator, Green Shoots, Partner-led events, Coder workshops,… more than half of the topics and presentations were around two themes, Web3, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Climate and Social Initiatives, featuring 850+ speakers and experts. 

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that half of the biggest sponsors this year are also Blockchain and Crypto companies like OKcoin, Crypto.com, Tokenize Exchange, Rapyd and R3. Ant group, Tencent and Google Cloud are examples of other significant spenders. 

The demographics of participating companies in this impactful Fintech event reaffirms that ‘Tech is eating Finance’.

Sponsors and exhibitors, Image Credit: CFTE

CFTE 5th Anniversary ☺️✨

After innumerable meetings and handshakes at the expo, CFTE 5th Anniversary was the perfect way to end the festival! With the dazzling sunset background, heartfelt speeches were shared from the co-founders, friends, partners and alumni on our journey to become the Knowledge Partner of SFF 2022 and of Abu Dhabi Global Market. 

“What the anniversary celebration had that other side events did not have — heart and purpose. I was drowned in the love and dedication for a focused purpose that CFTE has”, a friend shared with us after the anniversary. 

It was a celebration of CFTE’s achievements, a celebration of friendship cultivated from all around the world, of our amazing learner and expert community – all of whom have helped CFTE in the mission to educate Fintech at scale!

CFTE 5th Anniversary, Image Credit: CFTE

About CFTE

The Centre for Finance, Technology & Entrepreneurship (CFTE) is a global education platform that aims to equip financial professionals and organisations with the necessary skills to remain competitive in a rapidly changing industry. With offices in London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Abu Dhabi, CFTE partners with Fortune 500 companies to build their knowledge in Financial Technology, whilst simultaneously supporting their digital transformation process. Our leading training programmes, curated by global industry experts, help talent build skills to join the digital transformation of finance.

Contact

Press: press@cfte.education

Partners: partners@cfte.education

Point of contact – Paul Putscher, Marketing Lead (paul@cfte.education)

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