Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on 28 June 2019 that it will issue digital bank licenses which will allow entities, including non-bank participants, to conduct digital banking businesses in the country. Among those contending for the license include gaming firm Razer, and a partnership between Grab and Singtel.
According to Reuters, Razer has teamed up with a consortium of companies for the license, and will hold a 60% stake on behalf of its fintech business. The company stated that its bid to set up a retail bank will leverage on the brand’s outlook as a lifestyle brand that is synonymous with the youth and millennials, as well as its global presence. Others in this consortium include FWD Insurance, Shen Siong Holdings, Insignia Ventures Partners, LinkSure Global, and Carro.
On the other hand, the partnership between Grab and Singtel will see a 60% stake by the former, while the latter will hold the other 40% in the consortium. Based on a report by TechCrunch, Grab Financial Group senior managing director Reuben Lai said in a press statement that the consortium plans to “build a truly customer-centric digital bank that will deliver a variety of banking and financial services that are accessible, transparent and affordable.”
MAS is set to announce Singapore’s eligible digital banking licence holders sometime in mid-2020. On the local side of things, Bank Negara Malaysia announced on 27 December 2019 that it will also issue up to five digital banking licenses in the country. For the time being, no local participants for the license have been announced.