Banking disruptor Revolut set for Singapore beta launch in coming weeks

REVOLUT - a London-based fintech dubbed a "banking challenger" - said it will be making a beta launch in Singapore in the "coming weeks", as it looks to gain ground over incumbent financial players here and in the region.

This also comes as Revolut has flagged that amid "uncertain external environment", in part due to the Brexit process, it plans to bring jobs and tech talent to Singapore.

"In particular, Singapore's technologically adept and well-educated workforce coupled with a fintech-friendly regulatory framework is just one of a number of provisions that have seen the city-state cement its space as a leading tech and entrepreneurial environment," said the firm in a press statement on Thursday.

Singapore is the Asia-Pacific headquarters for Revolut.

The digital bank said it is also keen to work with education bodies in Singapore on training staff to "meet the needs of Revolut globally". Revolut said its service relies heavily on skills such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, as well as user interface design.

Revolut was launched in July 2015 by former Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank investment bankers, Nik Storonsky and Vlad Yatsenko, as a digital alternative to big banks. The company now has more than four million customers in Europe that use the service for its spending overviews, budgeting controls and savings features. It began as a service that allowed customers to spend and transfer money abroad at the interbank exchange rate, similar to another London-based fintech, TransferWise.

Revolut said it is currently opening more than 10,000 new current accounts every day. Its monthly transaction volume has also increased from US$2.4 billion in July 2018, to more than US$4.6 billion per month.

Mr Storonsky also criticised the British government's "lack of progress" on the fast-tracking of visas for top tech talent, as the Brexit process gets underway.

He said in the media release: "Revolut has been proactively working with British government ministers on lobbying for a specialised visa for high calibre talent, for roles such as software engineers and data scientists, so that it is far easier for this kind of tech talent to get into the country. The UK fintech sector is greatly reliant on foreign talent, and Revolut is no different. If London still wants to retain its position as the go-to location for tech on the continent, the government has to ensure that specialist and tech visas are fast-tracked and don't become difficult to obtain.

"It's a no-brainer that bureaucratic processes, red tape and numerous delays will see tech talent choose to go elsewhere, especially with growing competition from tech hubs across Europe."

To date, Revolut has raised about US$340 million in investments from venture backers that include Index Ventures, Ribbit Capital, Balderton Capital and DST Global.


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