Banking

Standard Chartered sets up Singapore-based venture with Assembly Payments

Standard Chartered and Westpac-backed Australian fintech Assembly Payments are joining forces to set up a new Singapore-based venture which will take Assembly’s ecommerce technology across the ocean.

Set to tap the $29 trillion global e-commerce industry, the companies say the new firm will consist of “a sophisticated digital payment platform” for online, mobile and point-of-sale (PoS), digital wallet, debit and credit card and real-time payments.

Yet to be given a name, the new company will be half-owned by the fintech and half-owned by the UK-founded bank, finally coming to fruition after 12 months of discussions between the two.

Assembly will be one of the first Australian fintechs to ride the wave of a major partnership like this with a global bank

The companies said together in a statement: “The new venture will roll out its payment services to global merchants, supporting their ambitions to scale and solving key challenges they face in managing risk, fraud, integration, reporting and reconciliation.”

Standard Chartered’s group chief information officer (CIO) Michael Gorriz says payments are “a critical pillar” of banking. In January, the bank became the first to introduce a public platform for tracking payment statuses ahead of Swift’s November 2020 deadline.

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“Enabling real-time faster payments and high volume transactions has been a core area of investment for Standard Chartered […] particularly with the growth of ecommerce platforms and wallet apps,” says Gorriz.

“Our venture with Assembly complements these capabilities, giving our corporate clients a complete offering for high throughput inward and outward payments.” The bank’s venture arm also says it wants to “make a strategic investment” in the payments arena.

Its investment in Assembly to embark on this join venture was described by the fintech’s co-CEO Simon Lee as “a once in a lifetime opportunity”.

“We have created a significant business in Australia and now, together with Standard Chartered, we are well placed to crack the international payments market and exponentially grow the business,” he adds.

Assembly will be one of the first Australian fintechs to ride the wave of a major partnership like this with a global bank. Lee tells Financial Review that he is confident the new and yet to be named venture will have started selling into Europe, as well as into its home base of Asia “in the next few months”.

“To be in payments today, you have to be global,” says Lee. “You can’t just be in Australia and New Zealand. You have to be in Europe, the US and Asia and there’s a big race happening.”

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