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PwC at Singapore FinTech Festival 2021

Envisioning the future of FinTech with cybersecurity while driving the need for sustainable finance.

If you are looking to make sense of what the digital future means for your and your business, drop by our virtual booth at this Singapore FinTech Festival happening from 8 to 12 November 2021, where we have a line up of activities and insights focusing on FinTech, cybersecurity and sustainable finance.

Please note that a digital pass is required to attend the event.

The FinTech world

FinTech in ASEAN

Future of FinTech


Sustainable finance

FinTech in ASEAN: Digital takes flight

Jointly produced by United Overseas Bank (UOB), PwC and Singapore FinTech Association (SFA), our report FinTech in ASEAN 2021: Digital takes flight looks at both the rising supply and demand for digital financial services in the region. Through primary research conducted with more than 3,000 respondents, we explore how the pandemic has changed the way consumers pay, invest, adopt new credit facilities like ‘buy now, pay later’, and more.

The research findings are supplemented by in-depth interviews with venture capitalists, FinTech firms and regional FinTech associations to bring you a holistic view of ASEAN’s thriving FinTech scene.

Preview of key findings:

  • In the first nine months of 2021, ASEAN’s FinTech firms received a record-breaking US$3.5 billion in funding, three times the amount raised last year.
  • Singapore continues to lead funding numbers and deals within ASEAN.
  • Payments, investment tech and cryptocurrency firms saw the most funding.
  • E-wallets have emerged as a key payment method, second only to cash.
  • One in two respondents are aware of 'green' investment products, of which 55 per cent have invested in such products.
  • Almost nine in 10 respondents across ASEAN are currently using or are open to using digital currencies in the future.

Click here to view and download the report

Future of FinTech

FinTech firms have seen tremendous growth as they continue to bring in new ideas to the market and challenge the status quo of the traditional players. The future of FinTech is powered by both embedded finance and decentralised finance, aiming to provide efficiency without undermining trust. 

With Covid-19, we have seen rapid rise of digital and contactless payments, digital banks, pay now pay later and digital assets encompassing cryptocurrencies, tokenization, non-fungible tokens and more. Singapore has always been supportive of such developments and is constantly reviewing the regulatory requirements, working collaboratively with industry players and providing support such as grants to facilitate industry growth. It is critical for FinTech companies to adequately address non-traditional risks to protect their clients.

Payments 2025 and beyond

Supercharged by the pandemic-induced accelerated digital transformation, Southeast Asia (SEA) is well-primed to fuel the shift to cashless payments and even greater innovations in the digital services ecosystem. This is also on the back of a burgeoning consumer base of 623 million people by 2030, making SEA the fourth largest economy globally.

So, as more players enter the fray with new business models and the industry becomes increasingly fragmented, we see the fight to the top turning more intense. For digital payment services to make a bigger impact, a sharper focus on accessibility, simplicity and affordability is key, while overcoming the trust barrier. Moreover, industry players need to first understand the global megatrends re-shaping the future of payments, before beginning to future-proof their businesses.

Six macrotrends impacting the future of payments: SEA perspective

  • Inclusion and trust
  • Digital currencies
  • Digital wallets and booming super-apps
  • Battle of the rails
  • Cross-border payments
  • Financial crime

Find out more about these macrotrends and how they are impacting the future of payments in our latest insight.

Payments 2025 and beyond: Evolution to revolution

Digital assets path to the future

Crypto funds

Crypto funds continue to gain traction globally, hitting US$3.8 billion in total assets under management (AuM),  amid increased interest in digital assets among retail and institutional investors. US SEC has also approved bitcoin futures ETF in October 2021, a stepping stone for the industry, making way for greater market adoption and investor base. Increased institutional adoption of crypto-assets increases the demand for institutional-grade ecosystem providers (i.e. brokers/ exchange/ custodians).

Key areas for fund managers to consider when setting up crypto funds:

  • Establishing a robust and relevant risk management framework
  • Selecting right service providers to provide brokerage and custody services
  • Embedding a robust token evaluation framework as part of investment approvals

For an overview of the global crypto hedge fund landscape:

3rd Annual Global Crypto Hedge Fund Report 2021

Security token offerings (STO)

Security token offerings were made possible with the blockchain technology, offering the investors with better liquidity and accessibility to illiquid assets (e.g. real estate and structured finance). This also provides an alternative funding platform for security token issuers. Demand for security token is growing as this offers some investors their first exposure to an asset class (e.g. tokenized real estate).

The STO market has gained traction in Singapore with more players and banks entering the space. Globally, the total security token issuance and trading volume is expected to be worth trillions in the next decade. Issuers will need to keep abreast of the evolving regulatory requirements and have sufficient knowledge in security token offerings’ project management (i.e selecting the right platform for tokenization of underlying assets). Investors will need experience and support in operationalisation of digital assets (i.e. risk management, reporting, tokens evaluation policies, frameworks) to support digital assets investments.

Decentralised Finance (DeFi) and Non Fungible Tokens (NFT)

Blockchain technology has created the possibility to reinvent the finance space, removing the need of a central controlling party. Decentralised Finance (DeFi) has evolved tremendously in recent years and could possibly be an alternative to the traditional centralised finance that we are aware of.
Defi Total Value Locked grew substantially in 2020 from USD 1 billion to approximately USD 90 billion in May 2021. In Oct 2021, it crossed the USD 200 billion mark. Launch of Ethereum 2 is expected to further increase traction in Defi projects / investments. In the NFT space, More than USD 2 billion was spent on NFTs during the first quarter of 2021 (representing a 2,100% increase from Q4 2020). NFT sales volume further surged to $10.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021.

Despite the growth, complexity of Defi protocols and unclear business models pose a challenge for building trust with investors. Companies interested to venture into this space need to have a sustainable business model strategy and experience in a wide spectrum of capabilities such as code review, digital asset tax, digital asset accounting, regulatory, tokenomics.

Find out more about the future of Defi:

DeFi: Defining the future of finance

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

CBDC projects are gaining traction with more than 60 Central Banks have been exploring CBDCs since 2014, looking into both retail and wholesale CBDC. Institutional involvement continues to strengthen the ecosystem at large, with public stakeholders such as BIS and the World Bank active on the topic.

Most projects are in the pilot or production phase, and use blockchain as the underlying technology. Whilst a blockchain is not always necessary to create digital tokens, blockchain technology brings several benefits to CBDC developments. With further development on this globally, transactional volumes will be interesting to monitor. China’s retail CBDC - eCNY has been used to conduct 62 billion yuan (US$9.7 billion) of transactions as of the end of October 2021.

Find out more about CBDC:

PwC CBDC Global Index


Importance of strengthening cybersecurity in FinTech

Risk of digital identity fraud

Living in a digital age, we verify our identity more often than we realise. As organisations 

shift towards an omnichannel approach and make this operations virtual, the risk of digital identity fraud is inevitable. Moreover, digitalisation has placed customers at the center of a company’s business operations and offerings, and they need to be provided with a seamless experience. Organisations are trying their best to find the perfect balance between customer experience and security.

Whether you are setting up a digital ID system or evaluating your current setup, there are benefits and limitations in the three types of digital ID systems being actively used in the market today which are: centralised, third-party based and self-sovereign ID systems. While centralised models introduce greater security and trust, decentralised models allow more user control and lead to an enhanced customer experience. In terms of limitations, the centralised model is exposed to the risk of system failure, while the decentralised model involves complex governance and carries a higher risk of identity theft.

Read Digital identity: Opportunities and challenges to find out the key factors that organisations should consider when evaluating a digital ID provider or strengthening the internal cybersecurity team.

Data privacy and protection

FinTech businesses, characterised by small management teams, limited credit and extreme focus to tap very quickly on unidentified target markets, face a unique challenge with regards to data privacy. At the same time, the data-intensive nature of this industry makes data privacy and identity a central theme and integral component to the success of FinTech players.

With the increased number of customer touchpoints in an array of digital platforms, FinTech companies need to start discovering and rediscovering the data they process along its complex web of countless transmissions and disclosures. FinTech companies need to move quickly to create the right culture and a repeatable framework for privacy compliance — and to pilot and roll out new tools and processes to not just gather, analyse, and monetize data but also protect it to remain trusted by consumers in the marketplace.

Cloud trust

With the exponential increase of remote work set-ups, cybersecurity teams in organisations are struggling to keep up with the increase in exposure to threats. In our latest Digital Trust Insights Survey 2021, Singapore executives are predicting attacks on IoT (77% voted ‘highly likely’), cloud service providers (65%), and social engineering (74%) occur in the next year.

Organisations should consider cloud security risk and compliance during the planning stage or if not, start evaluating the risk now. The earlier the risks are mitigated, the more risk-mitigation costs are reduced.Reevaluate cloud governance, third-party risk management, who is responsible for controls, and who is monitoring the compliance of responsible parties (both internally and at cloud providers). Build trust from the start.

Read Change how your business runs with cloud: Understand the role you can play to grow, innovate, and build trust where we decode how each member of the organisation can contribute to collectively maximize cloud ROI.

Proactive measures that organisations should adopt to mitigate cybersecurity risk

Managing data privacy and protection

If the lifeblood of the digital economy is data, then its heart is digital trust — the level of confidence in people, processes, and technology to build a secure digital world. In mitigating data confidentiality risks organisations should have strong data access management controls. While this is not a new concept, the relevance of it in the context of cybersecurity is paramount in today’s time. A differentiated approach to protecting data of differing sensitivity led by data classification framework is also important to adopt for organisations handling datasets that include not just any personal information but also national identification numbers and healthcare information to effectively manage privacy with the limited resources available.

Data privacy and protection should not stop at policies and procedures; efforts to integrate privacy into everyday processes and mindsets of employees need an equal – if not more emphasis. As privacy concerns may arise from the processing of personal data within any department in the organisation, organisations should work towards building privacy champions within their workforce.

Shifting toward new approaches and thinking around cybersecurity

Innovation is changing the cybersecurity game, giving new advantages to defenders and levelling the playing field with attackers. Moving toward in terms of new approaches and strategies, it is apparent that cloud security is the next big transformation. Majority of the organisations believe that moving more services and infrastructures to the cloud is fundamental to the next generation of business solutions.

Organisations can get the first mover advantage by actively pre-empting new trends and looming threats in the cybersecurity space.

Future-proofing the workforce

Skills that were earlier ‘good-to-have’ are now a must-have. The combination of technical, business and social skills are what organisations are looking out for in their new hires.

Upskill existing employees based on the evolving needs of the market - today’s digital trust workforce are well-rounded, aware individuals who holistically bring together people skills, business strategy, technology acumen and an awareness of risk implications.

Find out what’s changing and what’s next for cybersecurity in the region.

Digital Trust Insights Survey 2021: Singapore findings

Sustainable finance

Sustainable finance redefines the future of sustainability by investing in organisations that integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices in their organisation. It looks at creating value that leads towards building trust and sustained outcomes.

Driving financial services industry towards sustained outcomes

The market for sustainable finance is rapidly growing in response to the climate emergency. Despite impressive recent growth, the sustainable finance market has a long road ahead to reach maturity. It faces competing initiatives, uneven coverage by geography and asset class, misalignment of definitions and a mismatch between supply and demand. However, financial market infrastructure (FMI) can help.

Drawing upon the successes of cross-border FMI in the Euroclearable and global bond markets, we identify three opportunities for FMI to support the development of the sustainable finance market:

  1. Encourage greater sustainable finance issuance by reducing infrastructure, regulatory and informational barriers;
  2. Improve the processing of ESG information within existing financial systems; and
  3. Expand the reach of the sustainable finance market to more participants and asset classes.

Read how a cross-border FMI-driven approach to scaling sustainable finance can help to pave this way forward. 

The impact of increasing the role of tax in ESG and sustainability on the Asia Pacific asset and wealth management industry

The accelerated introduction and emergence of green finance and sustainable investments have reshaped the industry and has led asset and wealth managers to refocus and change their attitudes towards sustainable investing. Sales of ESG funds and fund flots into green-linked financial products and services have hit record highs. We expect to see a rise in tax initiatives being introduced in the Asia Pacific region to achieve the societal transition to achieve Net Zero.

Learn more about the sustainable investment landscape in 11 Asia Pacific jurisdictions.

Sustainable investing takes off in Asia Pacific

FinTech Awards 2021

Singapore FinTech Festival Global FinTech Awards, powered by PwC Singapore, is a representation of the industry’s highest accolade for FinTech innovation. The award seeks to recognise FinTech initiatives which have helped create growth and transformation opportunities amid the challenging impacts faced from the pandemic.

Read more about the awards
Media release for SFF Global FinTech Awards 2021
Media release for SFF Global FinTech Awards 2020

“FinTech is set for accelerated future growth as industry players continue to bring new ideas to the market, challenging the status quo of traditional financial services players. This year, we are encouraged by the game-changers who break away from the norm, transforming industry standards and practices with unique and creative solutions. The adoption of sustainable finance in financial institutions is an emerging trend this year. Organisations that promote interoperability within the ecosystem will realise the beauty of FinTech, while increasing their efficiency as they connect the dots.”

Wong Wanyi FinTech Leader, PwC Singapore

Contact us

Financial services

Sam Kok Weng

Financial Services Leader, PwC Singapore

+65 9367 3340


Wong Wanyi

FinTech Leader, PwC Singapore

+65 9842 2060


Patrick Yeo

PwC Singapore's Venture Hub Leader, PwC Singapore

+65 8218 9225


Wei Jie Chan

Senior Manager, PwC Singapore

+65 8126 6623



Kwok Wui San

Risk, Regulations & Compliance Leader, PwC Singapore

+65 8218 8727


Dyane Uy

Director, PwC Singapore

+65 9632 5013



Tan Shong Ye

Partner, PwC Singapore

+65 9679 6920


Raymond Teo

Cyber Leader, South East Asia Consulting, PwC Singapore

+65 8522 3492


Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)

Eu-Lin Fang

ESG Leader, PwC Singapore

+65 9817 8213


Lee Bing Yi

Director, PwC Singapore

+65 9782 6395


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