Survey respondents were optimistic about the outlook for the FinTech industry in Singapore, with over 75% stating they believed industry growth would accelerate with more opportunities available in the next 3-5 years. Across 13 specific job categories contained in the survey, over 30% of respondents intend to increase headcount by 25-50% in the next 12-36 months, a level that would redress the current shortfall and provide impetus to power the expected industry growth as well. Based on survey results, Singapore boasts a significant home-grown FinTech industry (over 70% of firms' surveyed are based in Singapore), complemented by overseas firms establishing operations here. Singapore's strong reputation and growing economy plays a pivotal role in supporting local firms to launch and operate locally, and makes the city state ideal as a hub to attract foreign firms to operate here or use Singapore as a regional headquarters.
Financial technology ("FinTech") generally refers to digital innovation in the financial sector. At its inception, the understanding of FinTech was limited to innovative ways of facilitating payments and transactions. Underpinned by revolutionary shifts in Internet and mobile technology in recent years, the realm of FinTech has witnessed explosive growth. Nowadays, it refers to a wide variety of technological interventions within the financial services arena, such as crowdfunding, online customer acquisition, mobile wallets, P2P lending, MPOS, MSME services, personal financial management, private financial planning, Blockchain and crypto currencies. Given the opportunities that FinTech affords, many technology companies have been actively trying to tap into the financial market.
FinTech is gaining a momentum but there is still a long way to go. We're still walking around with our cards, our money is laying around in our current accounts not being invested when we don't need it and currency exchanges can be found at every airport. At the same time, we see fraud detection or mortgage credit scoring being nearly 100% dependent on machine learning. There are still plenty of opportunities for FinTech companies to change the way we and businesses earn, pay, transfer, borrow and invest money. Hiring talents for the FinTech industry is an arms race.
Since the introduction of the first credit card with a magnetic stripe in 1966, financial technology has come a long way. Silicon Valley may not have birthed the term "fintech", but it has certainly helped catapult its applications into the mainstream. Leveraging everything from basic apps to the blockchain, the changing dynamics of fintech are creating new investment opportunities everyday, growing its appetite with every new megadeal. Today's graphic from Raconteur highlights the global growth of the fintech industry, the services with the most staying power, and major M&A developments of the past year as traditional institutions scramble to deal with this digital disruption. Over the past five years, digitally-enabled financial technology services have delivered convenient and cheaper access to financial services to millions of consumers.
There has been extraordinary growth in funding for financial technology (FinTech) ventures in recent years, during which FinTech innovation, and especially disruption, has been a near constant focus of media and publicity. Worldwide, over $60bn of investment has flowed into the sector in the past 6 years1, with funding in 2016 at more than ten times the level in 2010. FinTech's growth has largely been driven by the possibilities of implementing technologies such as big data, cloud-based solutions, AI, and machine learning within the financial services industry. However, the growth of the FinTech sector is also partly due to the post-financial crisis environment in which the financial services industry has faced increased regulation, challenging firms to keep costs and fees low, as well as increased appetite for disruptive challengers to compete against entrenched players. While lending and payments related companies within the consumer banking sector remain the largest targets of FinTech investment, one of the fastest growing areas of funding is investment management.