SINGAPORE (Apr 8): The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has today launched a $125 million support package to sustain and strengthen capabilities for local financial institutions (FIs) and FinTech firms amid the current economic slump.

This support package aims to help position the forms for stronger growth when the threat of Covid-19 recedes and economic activity normalises.

The support package, funded by the Financial Sector Development Fund, has three main components: supporting workforce training and manpower costs; strengthening digitalisation and operational resilience; and enhancing FinTech firms’ access to digital platforms and tools.

As part of the support package, $90 million will be allocated to support workforce training and manpower costs.

MAS will be launching a new Training Allowance Grant (TAG) to encourage FIs and FinTech firms to make use of the downtime in business activity, to train and deepen the capabilities of their employees. The TAG will also be available to support Singapore Citizens (SCs) and Permanent Residents (PRs) outside of the financial services and FinTech sectors.

The TAG will supplement the Jobs Support Scheme announced in the Resilience and Solidarity Budgets, by providing training allowances for completing training in courses accredited by the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) at $10 per training hour for self-sponsored individuals; and $15 per training hour for employees sponsored by FIs and FinTech firms.

Additionally, MAS and IBF will increase course fee subsidies for SCs and PRs attending relevant IBF courses IBF to 90% (from the current range of 50% to 70%), and extend the subsidies to include employees of FinTech firms.

MAS will also double the salary support for FIs to hire SC fresh graduates or workers from other sectors and place them in talent development programmes under the Finance Associate Management Scheme (FAMS). FAMS is a talent development tool to help groom Singaporeans for future specialist and management roles in the financial services industry through structured programmes offered by FIs.

Meanwhile, the remaining $35 million from the support package will go to help firms strengthen digitalisation and operational resilience.

With that, MAS will set up a new Digital Acceleration Grant (DAG) to support digitalisation in smaller FIs and FinTech firms. The DAG will help these firms adopt digital solutions to strengthen operational resilience, process efficiency, risk management and customer service.

The DAG scheme will have two tracks: the Institution Project track, which supports 80% of qualifying expenses for the adoption of digital solutions by smaller FIs and FinTech firms, up to a cap of $120,000 per entity, over the duration of the scheme; and the Industry Pilot track, which supports collaborations among at least three smaller FIs to customise digital solutions for implementation within their institutions, by co-funding 80% of qualifying expenses, capped at $100,000 per participating FI per project.

Furthermore, MAS will provide all Singapore-based FinTech firms six months’ free access to API Exchange (APIX), an online global marketplace and sandbox for collaboration and sales. Through APIX, FinTech firms and FIs can integrate and test solutions via a cloud-based architecture.

MAS is also working with the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) to set up a new digital self-assessment framework for MAS’ Outsourcing and TRM Guidelines hosted on APIX. Completing the self-assessment will help FinTech firms provide a first-level assurance to FIs about the quality of their solutions.

Jacqueline Loh, Deputy Managing Director (Markets & Development) for MAS says, “We have significantly enhanced existing initiatives and introduced new schemes to help our FIs and FinTech firms not only navigate the current headwinds but at the same time build deeper competencies, skills, and networks, so that we can emerge stronger for the longer term. We encourage FIs, FinTech firms and financial sector professionals to actively tap on these opportunities.”