The MAS (Monetary Authority of Singapore) FinTech Awards held on November 17, 2016, was an event to honor and recognize outstanding and innovative FinTech companies. Organized by the MAS and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), the ceremony was graced by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of MAS, Tharman Shanmugratnam.
CoAssets had the opportunity to have a chat with Mr. Simon Ring, Global head of Financial Markets of Pole Star Space Applications. Based in Pole Stars London HQ, Simon works with banks, commodity trading companies, insurers, bunkering companies and governments with sanction and regulatory exposures in maritime transportation & supply chains.
Simon Ring of Pole Star Space Applications
Can you tell us a bit about Pole Star Space Applications?
Pole Star is a privately owned technology company that has been providing vessel monitoring, regulatory compliance, and risk management services to the Maritime industry since 1998. We are an international company with offices around the world, and we currently serve around 2500 clients ranging from governments to commercial shipping companies and financial institutions. Over the past 3 years, we have been researching and developing in conjunction with many major trades & commodity financing banks and trading companies our regulatory technologies.
In Your Perspective: What are some of the prominent changes in the maritime industry?
The maritime industry is vital for trade flows around the world, with around 90% of all goods transported by sea and a very large percentage of this trade financed by banks and covered by insurers. The increase in sanctions and regulatory requirements globally has seen many banks and associated companies fined for violation of these regulations, along with the reputational damage that violations can cause. We are seeing the use of technology becoming increasingly vital for companies associated with these risks. That’s why we’re working to provide the technology these industries need to streamline workflows and stay ahead in an ever-changing regulatory landscape.
What are some of the biggest challenges Pole Star has faced thus far?
The maritime industry and associated world trade are currently facing many major and highly publicised challenges. As a technology company with its foundations firmly in the maritime domain, we understand and share in these issues with our clients. Our drive has always been to listen to our clients and collaborate with them in developing systems and technology to help navigate the challenges of protecting their assets and making the most of their resources, whatever their circumstances.
How is Pole Star different from other vessel tracking companies?
What we do encompasses so much more than tracking ships. We empower our customers, giving them real-time insights which enable them to make key business decisions. Our systems are robust and secure, and they’re built on a powerful API that allows our customers to access the data they need anywhere, anytime, through whatever system they use – not just our own! It’s really about bringing our industry into the 21st century and building technology that connects the old with the new, at a time when it’s needed more than ever.
Pole Star’s HQ office in London (Photo Courtesy of Pole Star)
After winning the MAS FinTech Awards, what are your immediate feelings and how will the funds be spent?
We are so excited to have won this award – it’s a real testament to the hard work of our teams, especially given that we are relatively new to the FinTech sector. We are uniquely positioned to provide this solution, and there’s really nothing else quite like it on the market, so we are very pleased to have been recognised at such a prestigious level, however. We haven’t yet decided how we will spend the funds, but you can be certain it will be reinvested in the business so that we can continue to build on what we’ve already achieved with our RegTech offering.
Where will Pole Star be in 5 years?
We have some very interesting plans in the works, thanks to the strategic partnerships we have established over the past year – so watch this space for new developments! We are working with PwC, Ericsson, Orbcomm, Weatherdock, and many of our commercial and government clients to develop technological solutions that will not only allow shipping companies to be compliant but will set new standards in excellence across the board. And that’s something we are really excited about!
Can you share with us a quote that you live by?
The only constant in life is change… embrace it.
For more information on Pole Star, visit www.polestarglobal.com
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