Founded by Stanley Yong and Andrew Koay in 2017, Singapore-based digital consultancy Practical Smarts specialises in business, technical and regulatory advisory services on the use of asset-backed digital tokens within the financial services industry. Now, the firm has been absorbed into Deloitte’s Southeast Asian Risk Advisory practice, bolstering its Distributed Ledger Technology/Blockchain expertise.
“Digital technology is transforming the financial markets in the Southeast Asia region and Blockchain is a key component of this transformation. The team from Practical Smarts will complement Deloitte’s cyber and digital assurance services by securing the assets to be transferred over the network and the underlying transfer protocol,” commented Deloitte Southeast Asia CEO Philip Yuen.
As part of the deal (the terms of which haven’t been disclosed), Yong and Koay have both joined Deloitte as directors, and will together lead the Deloitte Blockchain Lab in Southeast Asia. Yong, after a brief stint at McKinsey (following an MBA with Spain’s IE Business School), would go on to spend nearly a decade as a deputy director with central bank MAS, latterly serving as Head of Innovation Acceleration.
From there, he co-founded Practical Smarts, while also serving IBM in Singapore in the capacity of CTO and Global Lead on Central Bank Digital Currency Solutions. Koay, meanwhile, kicked off his career at Arthur Anderson, and later Ernst & Young, as a senior risk consultant. He then spent close to a decade and a half as a vice president with banks UOB and OCBC, before serving as Head of Blockchain Tech for the SGX.
“With the acquisition of the top talents from the market this time, and the full support from Deloitte’s global network, we look forward to seeing huge success in both market eminence and business growth very soon,” said Paul Sin, Deloitte’s Blockchain Lab Leader for the Asia Pacific. “The establishment of the Southeast Asia Blockchain practice is our response to the ever-increasing demand from our clients.”
According to a press release, the new Lab – one of three regional labs and 1,500 practitioners globally – will serve clients looking to implement and deploy DLT/Blockchain solutions to address governance, regulatory, settlement and enforceability concerns. The Lab will also be hiring and training additional fintech experts (focused on digital and cyber security skills), while Practical Smarts’ employees have crossed to Deloitte.
“Blockchain is gaining momentum in the region and acceptance is growing across multiple industries,” said Yong. “The focus is now on production and implementation where risk management becomes a critical concern. With this transaction, together, we can generate more value to our clients, and we can leverage our shared knowledge and expertise to create sustainable and widely adopted business solutions.”