Following the article The Rise Of Fintech  – Trends of Robo Advisors in Asia, here’s a summary of the Fintech regulations in Asia concerning Robo advisors. Enjoy! 

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In the first 9 months of 2015, FinTech investment in the Asia Pacific reached US$3.5 billion, nearly fourfold than in 2014. Venturing into robo-advisors in Singapore is ideal as:

1) “Innovation in A Sandbox” Regulatory Approach

Innovative products and services can be experimented with and rolled out within a controlled environment. To ensure that guidelines do not stifle innovation, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) applies a materiality and proportionality test. Regulations will only be introduced when risks from robo-advisors become material, and measures implemented will be proportionate to the risk posed.

Regulations cannot front-end innovation, to be able to keep up with new developments, constantly evolving technologies and platforms, we need to have flexible laws that will help robo-advisors companies to evolve and improve.

MAS has acknowledged that there is no “One-Size-Fits-All” approach and that they intend to take a comparative and technology-neutral approach in formulating rules in Singapore.

2) Governmental Support and Funding

Before setting up a robo-advisor in Singapore, one can seek advice on various FinTech and technology-related government grants and schemes from the FinTech Office. New robo-advisors companies can tap into the S$225 million that MAS has set aside in its coffers for the five years to grow the FinTech ecosystem in Singapore.

3) Ideas are Encouraged

You can launch a robo-advisor in Singapore without seeking MAS’ endorsement, as long as the founders are satisfied with their due diligence and take ownership of their decisions. Robo-advisors companies have to understand and adhere to boundary conditions such as the time horizon, customer protection requirements, etc.

This will develop an environment where failure is not treated with disdain but accepted as part of the learning process.

Potential Pitfalls of Launching Robo-advisors In Singapore.

Robo-advisors companies in Singapore faces uncertainty surrounding the application of regulations, irresolute if they need to be regulated or licensed. Effective regulation is vital to support the sustained development and adoption of innovation, promote competition, and boost confidence.

Another impediment to the advancement of robo-advisors in Singapore is immigration laws.  Singapore faces a shortage of talent due to measures to curb foreign talents to give priority to Singaporeans.

Lastly, Singapore breeds a pragmatic and risk-averse culture, valuing traditional metrics of success, which opposes the trial-and-error approach of entrepreneurship.

A Comparison: Robo-advisors in China

Starting a robo-advisor in China, however, will prove to be trickier as it is uncertain as to how the Chinese regulatory bodies will coordinate their supervision and regulation activities. The difficulty lies with the numerous authorities involved in the regulation of Chinese FinTech companies.

In July 2015, the People’s Bank of China (“PBOC”), the China Banking Regulatory Commission (“CBRC”) , China Insurance Regulatory Commission (“CIRC”), China Securities Regulatory Commission, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (“MIIT”) together with other five government regulators jointly released the Guiding Opinions on Promotion of Healthy Development of Internet Finance (“Guiding Opinions”).[1]

The Guiding Opinions provides the regulatory framework that can be bewildering and tedious for new robo-advisors companies. On the other hand, the Guiding Opinions set out rules to prevent errant FinTech companies from gaming the system.

To encourage the survivability of Chinese FinTech companies, China implemented a series of policy measures. An example is the preferential tax treatment in income tax and stamp duty.


To conclude, technology is a key enabler for innovation and disruption and we – entrepreneurs, incumbents, banks, regulators, capital providers – must make a concerted effort to understand and use it effectively.

FinTech and Innovation are, after all, about designing better work processes and creating new business models that will deliver higher productivity, more jobs, and superior services for the consumer.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva



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