SINGAPORE Britain's vote to leave the European Union opens an opportunity for Singapore to recruit talent for its ambitious plans to become a leading financial technology hub, the chief FinTech officer of the city-state's central bank said.
"First thing after Brexit happened, we talked about talent - talent coming out of the UK," said Sopnendu Mohanty of the Monetary Authority of Singapore at a panel discussion at Singapore's first FinTech festival.
"I agree they have a huge pool of talent and it's good to have something like that so we can take some talent out."
Simon Kirby, Britain's economic secretary to the treasury, told the audience that London will remain a leading financial center, though he acknowledged Singapore might be able to lure some of the talent.
However, he later told Reuters: "I don't think it is already happening."
He further defended his turf, noting "there are more FinTech businesses in Ireland and the UK than in the rest of Europe put together". Kirby promised to "do everything" to make sure access to European markets remains in place after Brexit occurs.
Kirby would not go into details about how Britain will convince Europe to agree to that, adding "we are not ruling anything in or anything out."
Mohanty said Singapore was making its own efforts to develop talent, building a research center dedicated to FinTech and retraining people from the financial industry.
People needed to "wake up" to the need to learn new skills, Mohanty said, as "financial services in 5-10 years time will be called FinTech."
Some 11,000 participants - including software giant Microsoft and global banks such as Citibank and Standard Chartered - from more than 50 countries gathered for the FinTech event.
(Reporting by Marius Zaharia and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Richard Borsuk)