Singapore has turned into a center of financial competency in the Southeast Asian region and their government has come forward to take the financial hub to the next level. The week-long Singapore FinTech Festival was a wonderful step to take the journey forward. At the FinTech conference that took place from November 14-18, 2016 at the Singapore Expo Exhibition Centre, Ravi Menon, managing director of Singapore’s central bank Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), summarised the nation's broad plans to drive up fintech innovation in the near future.
MAS will build a blockchain research lab based in Singapore along with US-based blockchain research firm R3 and payment systems provider BCS Information Systems. The purpose is to allow banks to make transactions to each other via digital currency.
The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) is going on board with two key projects that will simplify electronic payments. It is working on Central Addressing Scheme (CAS) which will allow customers to transact to another person as long as they have the recipient’s mobile number, national ID number, or email address. The other project Unified Point-of-Sale (UPOS) terminal will allow merchants to accept payments from all major card brands including those embedded in smartphone e-wallets. The Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) has built a personal data platform called MyInfo to simplify knowing the customers for financial institutions. Residents will enter their national ID, house address, and personal verification information into the system. Financial services can get the information from the MyInfo database to verify clients’ identity.
The MAS has also announced that it will release 12 Application Interfaces (APIs) to the public. This will allow developers to build applications that can automatically integrate official financial datasets such as credit card stats or currency exchange stats.
The MAS has recently become the first regulatory agency in the world to create a sandbox environment to test various aspects of fintech including digital and mobile payments, authentication and biometrics, blockchains and distributed ledgers, and Big Data. A Final Services – Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (FS-ISAC) will also be set up in Singapore. This body will assist the financial industry monitor cyber threats and supply timely intelligence support and expert advice on imminent threats facing the global financial service sector.
MAS will also actively move to centralise the regulatory frameworks such as those for e-wallet solutions and e-payment services and set out guidelines for financial institutions using cloud computing services to ensure that they are secure and operationally up-to-standard.
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