LSEG Labs network opens sustainable finance innovation unit in Asia

Singapore is now home to the LSEG Labs network’s new sustainable finance innovation unit, focused on accelerating activity in the country’s fintech ecosystem.

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) In September 2021 launched a new dedicated sustainable finance innovation unit in Singapore, Asia. Described as an extension of the LSEG Labs network, the unit can also be viewed as an extension of its reach through its focus on creating sustainable finance capabilities and opportunities. The initiative has been confirmed to have the backing of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

Speaking on the latest development and what it means for the Group, David Harris, Global Head of Sustainable Finance, Data & Analytics at LSEG, was quoted as saying, “We are excited to gain the backing of MAS to support the business, finance and investor community in accelerating the transition to a net-zero, sustainable economy. This is a powerful initiative given both of our positions at the heart of international capital markets and our combined focus on innovation and global collaboration in sustainable investment and finance.”

Expanding on the notion of focusing on global collaboration in sustainable investment, this initiative can be viewed as just another way of sparking interest in indices trading on the FTSE 100. As it draws attention to the UK’s thriving businesses and how they are reaching out to other parts of the world, this is expected to build investor confidence in the UK’s top 100 listed companies, especially amid the increased interest in the finance and technology sectors.

Understanding Singapore’s fintech sector

Speaking on Singapore’s fintech ecosystem in an interview with the media, industry insider and author, Varun Mittal voiced what he believes has led Singapore to where it is now. Singapore’s kiasu nature has been identified as a possible motivator for the country’s current position. Kiasu, which refers to a fear of failure or a fear of losing out, is a concept that some claim prompted the country to further invest in and pursue fintech innovation and be listed amongst the greats in the world.

He provided further context on the country’s fintech ecosystem by stating, “In my view, the development of fintech requires capital, distribution and trust. In Singapore, the capital has always been available since it has been a large centre of commerce for decades now. Distribution became commoditised with the internet and the mobile reaching everywhere — be it ride hailing, e-commerce, food delivery and the like — and providing the foundation for the next generation of financial services to be built on top. Finally, any kind of financial services requires trust. As consumers engage with newer services, they need to be able to trust these services in order to use them more often. Across Singapore and much of Asia, we have seen lifestyle and financial services merge, and in many cases, trusted, established brands are providing some kind of financial services as well, providing what can be called ‘fin-life.’” 

What the initiative hopes to achieve

The LSEG’s new unit hopes to encourage innovation and provide support to Singapore’s fintech ecosystem. However, this is not to suggest that the country’s fintech ecosystem is dwindling. According to reports in mid-2021, Singapore’s fintech ecosystem has been thriving, despite the adverse conditions of 2020 and the dire impact thereof on the global economy. In fact, the improvement in the country’s fintech is said to be a recent thing, which can be attributed to factors such as the government’s commitment and dedication to seeing an improvement in it, amongst others. Currently, Singapore is reportedly at the forefront of global fintech innovation, which may be the reason for the growing interest in seeing it further grow and attract more investors, whilst securing international support. Moreover, experts continue to champion global collaboration in the finance sector as a way to explore innovative solutions and partially address climate-related risks.

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