The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) says it will commit $250 million over the next three years to accelerate technology and innovation-driven growth in the financial sector under the enhanced Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme (FSTI 2.0).

The enhanced scheme, which builds on the FSTI scheme introduced in June 2015, also aims to strengthen support for large-scale innovation projects and build a stronger pipeline of Singaporean talents in FinTech.

The launch of FSTI 2.0 was announced by MAS’s managing director Ravi Menon at the “Singapore FinTech Festival: Green Shoots Series”, which are virtual meet-ups for the FinTech community to share practical advice on topics such as bolstering cash flows to ensuring cybersecurity in times of increased remote work arrangements.

FSTI 2.0 will introduce several enhancements including doubling the maximum funding quantum to $400,000 from $200,000 under the Proof-of-Concept (POC) Grant.

MAS will also increase the maximum funding support from 50% to 70% of qualifying project cost.

The higher funding support will enable financial institutions and FinTech firms to undertake larger-scale POC projects to experiment, develop and deploy innovative solutions, empowered by emerging technologies.

The enhancement also includes a merit-based tiered funding mechanism that will replace the existing flat 50% funding support of qualifying project cost.

A higher level of funding will be allocated to POC projects which demonstrate stronger merits. The level of funding support and quantum cap for each applicant will vary according to the total number of favourable votes awarded by an evaluation panel.

MAS will raise the maximum funding quantum for all qualifying AI projects under the Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (AIDA) Grant to $1.5 million from $1 million, and it will introduce a new AIDA-Lite track, providing half the funding quantum of the AIDA track.

With AIDA-Lite, financial institutions will be able to obtain funding support to adopt proven AI solutions to enhance their operations

To encourage the expansion of existing labs and groom Singaporean talent in FinTech, MAS says it will co-fund existing innovation labs for new Singaporean hires.

Furthermore, all new projects under the Financial Institution-Level Projects, Industry-Wide Projects and AIDA Tracks will now qualify for funding support for capability transfer-related training costs.

Such training costs include expenses incurred to engage specialists to train the local talent pool, and expenses incurred to send local employees for overseas trainings.