The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the city-state’s central bank and financial regulatory authority, has announced the formation of a new Fintech Innovation Group (FTIG), a working group that will be responsible for regulatory policies and strategies for developing all areas of fintech.
Announced in late-2014, Singapore’s Smart Nation Programme, under the Prime Minister’s Office, aims to turn the city-state into the world’s very first Smart Nation.
„A nation where people live meaningful and fulfilled lives, enabled seamlessly by technology, offering exciting opportunities for all,“ explained Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s in the launch speech in November 2014.
However, „a Smart Nation needs a Smart Financial Center,“ and in order to accomplish this goal, Singapore’s central bank is looking to turn the city-state into the fintech hub of Asia, according to Ravi Menon, Managing Director at MAS.
„The financial sector is well placed to play a leading role given that financial services offer fertile ground for innovation and the application of technology,“ Menon said in a conference on June 29.
MAS will partner the industry to work towards the vision of a Smart Financial Centre, where innovation is pervasive and technology is used widely to increase efficiency, create new opportunities, manage risks better and improve people’s lives.
To achieve this nation-wide project, the authority wants to set up a regulatory environment that is conducive to innovation while fostering safety and security, and help develop a vibrant startup fintech ecosystem.
Apart from backing the likes of Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore, an accelerator program that aims to nurture early-stage fintech companies, the central bank is also committing S$225 million (US$166 million) over the next five years under the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation, or „FSTI“, scheme. The funds will help FSTI create innovation centers and conduct institution-level projects and industry-wide projects, Menon said.
On the other hand, the newly announced FTIG working group will be responsible for regulatory policies and development strategies to facilitate the use of technology and innovation to better manage risks, enhance efficiency and strengthen competitiveness in the financial sector.
„Technology is transforming financial services, and innovation will increasingly be the source of competitive advantage in the industry,“ Menon said on July 27.
The formation of FTIG is a serious commitment by MAS towards our vision of a Smart Financial Centre
Set to take effect from August 1, the working group will be divided into three divisions:
- The Payments & Technology Solutions Office, led by Bernard Wee, will formulate regulatory policies and develop strategies for payments and other technology solutions for financial services;
- The Technology Infrastructure Office, led by Tan Yeow Seng, will be responsible for regulatory policies and strategies for developing technology enabled infrastructures for the financial sector, in areas such as cloud computing, big data, and distributed ledgers;
- The Technology Innovation Lab, led by Roy Teo, will search for cutting-edge technologies with potential application to the financial industry and work with the industry and relevant parties to test-bed these innovative new solutions.
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