Retail forex development in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia (SEA) is of interest to many forex businesses due to the sheer size of the economies in the region, but also because of the comparative lack of financial technology and infrastructure. Technology uptake can be rapid, as seen with the growth in adoption of smartphones and e-wallets, so there is a potentially imminent gold rush as financial technology becomes more widespread.

A unique challenge is that a huge portion of SEA is unbanked, and an even greater number of people only have simple bank accounts. According to Macquarie’s 2022 report on financial inclusion in Southeast Asia1 , up to “half the population remain unbanked with no access to financial products, and a further fifth (18%) are underbanked – lacking access to anything other than a bank account.”

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