A contingent of Freshfields lawyers will be in Singapore next week for Money20/20 Asia, the leading financial services, payments and fintech event in the region. We are looking forward to meeting clients and are excited for a packed agenda featuring the world’s leading incumbents, disruptors and regulators in this space. Freshfields partner Richard Bird will be moderating a panel on Tuesday afternoon: “Comparing CVCs: investment thesis and innovation benchmarks”. Come and see us at kiosk K50 or drop us a line if you’re in town!

There are a lot of themes and topics to be discussed, but in particular, I am looking forward to hearing more about:

1. Disruptive tech and the rise of digital platforms

Politicians and regulators have been calling for more regulatory intervention in the tech sector in recent months (see our blog post on the just released Furman report in the UK here). This trend will increase compliance costs for big tech companies in their traditional sectors of expertise. As a result, they may feel incentivised to leverage their core customer base and look for revenue in areas such as banking which they have traditionally eschewed due to the massive risk and compliance overheads.

It will be interesting to see how tech companies are planning to deploy AI and blockchain technology to lower some of these costs by automating the labour-intensive back-office processes of traditional financial institutions.

2. Fintech partnerships and acquisitions

The number of collaborations between banks, as well as between banks and fintech providers, has significantly increased in recent years. The financial services sector has been under the regulatory spotlight for a while, and competition authorities as well as data regulators around the world are currently focused on digital products and services – so the combination of financial and digital services in the form of fintech is an obvious target for the authorities.

 I am looking forward to hearing from some of the key decision-makers in the region on how they are approaching the regulatory issues that can arise in the context of fintech partnerships and acquisitions.

We will be posting updates throughout the week here on Freshfields Digital to discuss the key emerging themes for the future of money in Asia, so make sure you check back over the coming days.