BSP leads powerhouse Ph Fintech contingent
The inaugural three-day Point Zero Forum kicked off in Zurich, Switzerland, on Tuesday, focusing on the implications of digital financial technology on global market structure and public policy.
The Swiss Secretariat for International Finance (SIF) and Elevandi co-sponsored the by-invite only, in-person Point Zero Forum that provided a platform for global leaders, technologists, regulators, and leaders from financial institutions in the public and private sectors to drive a profound exchange of ideas and knowledge to advance FinTech (financial technology) and Web3.0 in the digital economy.
Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Hweng Swee Keat stated: “Digital technology has tremendous potential to change the world for the better, especially through finance. To unlock this potential, we must find new ways to collaborate and partner to tackle key global challenges and ride the new wave of opportunities. Singapore and Switzerland have worked together to organize the inaugural Point Zero Forum, bringing together global technologists, financial institutions, and regulators. Through this Forum, we can add to the global FinTech momentum and strengthen the global movement for innovation and change.”
Hweng also touched on adopting a people-centric approach to developing the FinTech space, which he described as “the second principle of innovation, to learn from and collaborate with one another.” Technology and innovation thrive in an open and connected environment, he said.
Through collaboration, we achieve more such as when we bring the research community, industry, and government or what the Dutch term the ‘triple helix model of innovation’ and through collaborating beyond national borders, through international partnerships to work on common challenges,” he continued.
“Within Singapore, we will continue to strengthen the spirit of partnership and collaboration,” the official went on to say.
Hweng also drew parallelism between Singapore and Switzerland, noting the two countries’ initiatives in innovations and technology to secure their positions as financial centers. According to him, collaborations among stakeholders, including governments, the private sector, and academia, would play a critical role in shaping a digitalized inter-connected global ecosystem.
Commenting on the first panel discussion titled, “Crypto: Current and Future Real Economy,“ Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said the future of cryptocurrency is to look to its use cases as a utility tool and not as a speculative investment opportunity.
“It seems to me that that the public is looking at cryptocurrency as a kind of speculative construct. We must focus on its real utility objective to ensure the future of cryptocurrency,” he said. “If we take the whole world of markets, this is not a private currency market. We must look at look at it from a holistic point of view, including private currency, some fiat money, money market instruments.”
The Philippines sent the second-largest delegation in the ASEAN region, next to Singapore, showcasing the country’s position as one of the fastest FinTech destinations in the region.
Recognizing that fintech is fast becoming an integral part of business operations, the Philippines’ central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Assistant Governor Edna Villa, heads the Philippines delegation with Atty. Bridget Romero, the Acting Deputy Director of the Payment System Oversight Department (PSOD) under the Payments and Currency Management Sector (PCMS) and Digital Pilipinas convenors.
Digital Pilipinas is the largest private sector-led movement that advocates the teching up of the Philippines to achieve economic prosperity.
Indeed, industry experts have described the growth of FinTech in the Philippines as “tremendous” that offered viable financial options and solutions to Filipinos during the pandemic and boosted financial inclusion in the country.
Data from Fintech News PH showed that fintech firms in the Philippines garnered USD 342 million in funding during the first half of 2021 alone, a record-high amount.
In addition, the BSP expressed support by collaborating with various companies and organizations on fintech-centered programs. Such commitment has manifested through the Fintech Industry Sandbox Program, a collaborative initiative between significant parties from the Philippines’ digital finance sector, like Fintech Alliance.PH and Fintech Philippines Association (FPH), among others. This project aims to increase access to local financial institutions while promoting digital finance inclusivity in the Philippines.
GCash achieved its duocorn or double unicorn status in November 2021 after raising $300 million, bringing its total valuation to over $2 billion. GCash has more than tripled its gross transactions to P3.8 trillion last year from P1.2 trillion in 2020. The e-wallet ended in 2021 with 55 million registered users, 4.5 million merchants and social sellers, 290 GLife merchant partners, and around 174,000 cash-in and cashout agents.
Completing the Philippine delegation were: Michael Calma, Country Manager, Advance.AI; Rico Bautista, President & CEO, Etiqa Philippines; Ron Hose, Independent Director, Union Bank of the Philippines; Ysa Chua, Chief of Staff, PayMongo, Francis Plaza, Co-Founder and CEO, PayMongo; Noel Bonoan, Vice Chairman & Chief Operating Officer, KPMG Philippines; and Robertson Chiang, President, Founder & CTO, Dragonpay.