SIX has a very cosmopolitan set up in Asia, which I am very proud of. We are 12 different nationalities and speak 14 different languages. 55% of our workforce are women. This diverse team is an excellent foundation to implement our strategy going forward. In the last few years we have already been rapidly growing our business in Asia by not only launching new financial data services but by also expanding our data operations and our overall footprint in terms of staff. The focus has been on serving major Swiss customers with large operations in Asia who at the same time are our shareholders. With the great growth potential ahead for the APAC region we have now set ourselves up for expansion across Asia to shape the future of finance in the region.
1. We Sponsor Innovation in Asia
Our first key focus is the support of innovation in Asia for our customers and shareholders. To show our commitment, SIX is the lead sponsor and operator of the F10, the successful Fintech Incubator and Accelerator Program from Switzerland that recently expanded to Singapore. In Europe the program has helped startups in the FinTech, RegTech, and InsurTech space to refine their business model, expand their network and connect to corporate partners and investors. Now the F10 is building up a similar innovation ecosystem in Singapore, the innovation hub for the entire APAC region. The first six-months P2 “Prototype to Product” incubation program was launched successfully in February this year with ten start-ups despite the challenges caused by Covid-19. We are very much focused on working with start-ups helping us and our partners grow in Asia. The podcast hosted by Voice of FinTech and linked in this blog post has more insights. Jonas Thürig, Head of F10 in Singapore, and I explain where we stand with the F10 in Singapore, which trends we see and compare the innovation process in Europe and Asia.
Besides our sponsorship of the F10, the 50 CHF million corporate venture capital fund at SIX also invests in international early stage start-ups. The aim is to provide the industry with cutting-edge technologies, business models, and solutions that meet customer expectations.
Listen to Our Podcast with Neil Thomas and Jonas Thürig
In the third episode of the podcast series Financial Markets, Neil Thomas, Head of Sales and Country Head Singapore and Japan, and Jonas Thuerig, Head of F10 in Singapore, talk about the objectives of SIX in Asia, why SIX is the core corporate partner for the F10 incubator/accelerator in Singapore, current trends in innovation and much more. This podcast series is a collaboration between Voice of FinTech and SIX.
2. We Focus on 4 Key Markets and Regional Institutions
Besides our Asian core markets Singapore and Japan, where SIX already has offices, we are looking to understand and support our customer base in Hong Kong and drive further growth in Australia. We see a lot of potential in these markets and are speaking to banks about sanctions and their data requirements. Going forward, SIX is going to support more regional banks and other financial institutions like brokers, asset managers or others. In Australia we are targeting superannuation distributors and in Hong Kong we also want to approach Chinese banks. This expansion implies building much closer and effective relationships with the Swiss banks and other financial institutions in the region. Trusted relationships are the key to success in Asia.
3. We Future-Proof Financial Institutions
In our relationships with clients it is key for us to contribute to their long-term success. Besides our core data sets like pricing data, corporate actions and reference data that we deliver directly to institutions’ core banking systems, thus creating long-term value, we are currently exploring another area with our clients – international sanctions. This is a critical area where it is particularly important to think ahead and keep track of current political developments. Although the monitoring of sanctioned securities has never been underestimated, it has become far more complex and much larger in scale. This means that financial institutions need to source good quality data and adopt technology-driven services to ensure compliance. In Asia we have seen that most larger private banks already have a good practice around the monitoring of sanctioned securities for their clients. However, it is the tier 2 and tier 3 banks that still need support. The Sanctioned Securities Monitoring Service from SIX monitors 1.8 million+ shareholder relations across more than 220 million private companies worldwide and more than 65,000 public companies. The service gives institutions an up-to-date view on their potential sanctions risk exposure and helps them avoid significant fines and reputational damage caused by missing data. We want to enable our clients to trade with confidence – today and tomorrow.
4. We Are Building SDX, the Full End-to-End Exchange for Digital Assets
SIX is also exploring new ways to set up a new digital asset market in Asia and worldwide. With the SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) SIX is building an end-to-end platform for issuance, trading, settlement and custody of digital assets within a regulated environment. SDX is going to offer more traditional assets but also non-tradable assets such as real estate, oil and gas assets, fine art, wine collections, and so on. In close cooperation with the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) SDX is also looking into how digital central bank money could be used in the settlement of tokenized assets between market participants. SDX is going to operate under the same strict standard of regulation as SIX itself, and thereby ensure security and reliability of the digitized financial ecosystem of tomorrow.
In Asia and all other regions where SIX is present, we are there and ready to help. As our customers’ partner, we want to understand what their current and future business requirements are and how we can support them in their growth.
Neil Thomas is the Head of Asia Pacific region for SIX, working closely with our customers to support and anticipate their data and regulatory requirements. Neil is working to deliver global data propositions to several large international banks.
Prior to arriving in Asia, Neil spent a decade heading global relationships with strategic customers from SIX, primarily based out of London. Neil joined SIX from Thomson Reuters (Refinitiv) where his role focused on the investment banking and management sectors for ten years. Neil is a certified member of FISD.