Taking our financial services sector forward

Financial Services

Streamlined enterprise financing; extended working capital loan scheme

Budget 2019 proposes to increase the Government’s risk-sharing with the Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) for enterprises less than five years old from 50% to 70%. The EFS streamlines the various existing financing schemes into a single scheme.

The Government will also extend the existing SME Working Capital Loan scheme for two more years till 31 March 2021.

Help ease the tensions for enterprises

The EFS will better meet the financing needs of enterprises, including local fintech startups, across different stages of maturity. These include growth financing needs and short-term liquidity needs.

Risk is not so risky

Singapore has developed a vibrant fintech ecosystem, building on the vision of a Smart Nation. The MAS’ innovative approach in introducing a “regulatory sandbox” regime to allow experimentation of new technology in a controlled environment to address the sector’s most pressing challenges have helped drive this vibrancy. These fintech companies, along with other enterprises, will greatly benefit from the revamped EFS through increased access to finance, as the greater risk is undertaken by the Government.

Extending the EFS to non-local fintechs

The fintech ecosystem is necessarily global. Many of the fintech companies are not Singapore owned, but are attracted to Singapore because of our position in ASEAN and the incentives provided by the MAS. These fintech companies may not be able to avail themselves to the EFS as they do not meet the local ownership condition. The Government could consider waiving the local shareholding requirement for the EFS applicant while retaining the other conditions, including being registered and operating in Singapore.

Growing human capital

Additionally, Singapore’s progress towards a Smart Nation cannot be achieved without access to skilled human capital. Fintechs at the leading edge of emerging technologies – the likes of Artificial Intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing – will need to attract the best global talents into Singapore. The Government could allow for a more open foreign employment policy for skilled resources in areas of new technologies, while promoting skills transfer to the local workforce.


Leave a Reply