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  • BEYOND Consortium bidding for Digital Full Bank Licence to serve SMEs, their workforce and consumers

BEYOND Consortium bidding for Digital Full Bank Licence to serve SMEs, their workforce and consumers

  • The BEYOND consortium is led by V3 Group and EZ-Link, and comprises leaders in the Singapore business community including Far East Organization, Singapore Business Federation, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance and Heliconia Capital Management.
  • Growth enterprises and SMEs are critical components of Singapore’s economy. As they grow locally and abroad, innovative industry-specific financing solutions and digital services are needed to help them compete and raise productivity. BEYOND aims to serve their needs by redefining the role of a bank.
  • Close to 70 per cent of Singapore’s workforce is currently employed by SMEs, and BEYOND is focused on serving the needs of this community and their families by helping them to plan early and achieve financial security in their later years, through the use of behavioural economics and innovative processes.
Sunday, 5 January 2020 [Singapore] A consortium helmed by V3 Group, EZ-Link, and top finance professionals has announced its submission of a bid to the Monetary Authority of Singapore for a Digital Full Bank (“DFB”) Licence. The BEYOND consortium comprises:
  • V3 Group Limited V3集团 (“V3”), the leading Singapore enterprise, owner of lifestyle and wellness brands, and fintech solutions developer,
  • Far East Organization 远东机构, Singapore’s largest private property developer,
  • Singapore Business Federation 新加坡工商联合总会 (“SBF”), the apex business chamber in Singapore,
  • EZ-Link Pte Ltd 易通私人有限公 (“EZ-Link”), Singapore’s largest issuer of CEPAS-compliant cards and a pioneer in innovative payment technology,
  • Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd. 三井住友海上火灾保险公司 (“MSI”), a member of world leading insurance group, MS&AD, operates general insurance business in Singapore through its subsidiary, MSIG Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. MSIG保险公司 (“MSIG Singapore”), and
  • Heliconia Capital Management 海丽凯 (“Heliconia”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore state investor Temasek, focused on catalysing the growth of small and medium businesses in Singapore.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a key pillar of the Singapore economy, contributing to a significant portion of the country’s gross domestic product and representing a major driver of future growth. Collectively, the consortium members have a massive reach to SMEs and individuals across various industries that include real estate, construction, mass transport, insurance and retail. BEYOND will take an industry specific approach, and look to redefine the role of banking when it comes to serving the needs of its customers.

Financial sector veteran Mr Gan Chee Yen, the chairman-designate of the BEYOND consortium, (颜志贤, 指定主席) said, “Our proposal represents the combined strengths of some of Singapore’s most established companies and their reach to SMEs and their workforce. Together with my fellow incoming board members who have in-depth experience in risk management and digital banking operations in the UK and North Asia, we have developed a suite of innovative products and services to cater to the needs of digital natives, the gig economy, the silver generation and SMEs operating in different industries. At the same time, we believe that a bank that is inclusive, fair and equitable will be able to serve these communities, and help them to meet their goals and aspirations. This is all possible today thanks to the availability of technology in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain, leveraging on a deep understanding of behavioural economics and data.”

Backed by a strong regional network, the consortium intends to promote connectivity and support local SMEs in extending their footprint in Asia. To that end, SBF and V3 Fintech, the digital financial services unit of V3 Group, earlier announced the establishment of BEYOND Lab, a regional digital academy focused on enabling SMEs to adopt digital technology to increase operational efficiency and competitiveness. BEYOND Lab will serve SMEs in Singapore seeking to acquire digital technology to increase operational efficiency and competitiveness. Key focus areas will include data analytics to support green solutions, and fintech innovations. BEYOND Lab will also support the upskilling of SME owners and their workforce to develop digitally empowered businesses. Over time, BEYOND Lab intends to become an innovation centre in Singapore to pilot and roll out digital technology to strengthen Singapore’s SME network.

Mr Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer of SBF (何鸣杰, 执行总裁, 新加坡工商联合总会) said, “Though SMEs play a significant role in the economy, some SMEs especially smaller enterprises and start-ups tend to face more difficulty managing their financing and securing funding from traditional banks. We are encouraged to see the active interest by many companies to establish digital banks in Singapore as they will improve access to financing for our SMEs. SBF is delighted to participate in the BEYOND Consortium to establish a Digital Full Bank. It gives us a chance to work closely with diligent and dedicated Consortium partners to devise more targeted, innovative and SME-centric banking solutions to meet under-served SMEs and their workforce in a more holistic way. This, together with BEYOND Lab, will help Singapore businesses to expand into new markets and embrace new business models and technologies. We strongly believe that this will enhance the services SBF can provide to its membership base of over 27,000, elevate their competitiveness and create better jobs for Singaporeans.”

With close to 70 per cent of Singaporeans working in the SME ecosystem, they and their extended families represent an important community that is at the heart of the BEYOND proposal. The consortium will leverage on the core strengths and networks of its members such as EZ-Link, which has a customer base of some 5 million active cardholders, a product that is accepted at over 40,000 merchants island-wide and with business partners in the regional markets.

At the same time, Singapore’s leading general insurer MSIG will be developing a range of affordable and customised insurance solutions to meet the needs of the under-served. Customers and businesses can expect more choices in the form of micro-coverage, modular and usage-based insurance. BEYOND aims to empower individual customers to take charge of their lives and businesses and make better financial and lifestyle decisions by leveraging on innovation and behavioural economics.

Mr Ron Sim, founder and executive chairman of V3 Group (沈财福, 执行主席, V3集团) said, “Pure digital banking is the future, and we aim to embrace it together with the rest of Singapore’s promising fintech community. We also cannot be solely focused on catering to the digital natives. The vast majority of people in Singapore are part of the SME ecosystem, and we want to help them and their families. The benefits of the digital bank must be inclusive, and our approach has to be fair and equitable in encouraging everyone to progress together. These aspirations are actionable today thanks to the availability of technology, and we have already set up BEYOND Lab with SBF to support these aspirations and make them a reality.”

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