On 1 December 2016, the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS") together with the Financial Services Sharing and Analysis Centre ("FS-ISAC") issued a joint announcement that they will be working together to establish an APAC Regional Intelligence and Analysis Centre to promote sharing and analysis of cybersecurity information within the financial services sector on a regional basis. The APAC Regional Intelligence and Analysis Centre is to be based in Singapore and expected to be operational by the first half of next year.

This comes shortly after the opening speech by Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, at the inaugural Singapore FinTech Festival which was held from 14 to 18 November 2016, in which he announced the collaboration between FS-ISAC and the MAS to start the APAC Regional Intelligence and Analysis Centre as a part of Singapore's FinTech agenda to strengthen cybersecurity. He also shared that this collaboration would serve to deepen the capabililties of the local cybersecurity community, as well as help the financial industry to better monitor cyber threats and provide intelligence support.

Singapore's FinTech Journey - what's next?

In addition to strengthening cybersecurity capability, Ravi Menon also shared that a part of the FinTech agenda is to facilitate the infrastructure for an innovation ecosystem.

Recent initiatives are:

  • Establishing physical spaces for collaboration and experimentation such as LATTICE80, Singapore's first FinTech innovation village for FinTech start ups to work, connect and cocreate with the financial industry and venture capital investors.
  • Developing infrastructure for electronic payments such as the Central Addressing Scheme ("CAS") and the Unified Point-of-Sale ("UPOS") which the Association of Banks of Singapoore is working on to make electronic payments seamless and convenient for everyone.
  • MAS is partnering the Ministry of Finance and GovTech to create a national "know-your-customer" ("KYC") utility to streamline the KYC process.
  • MAS, Singapore Exchange and eight banks are working with R3 blockchain research lab and BCS Information systems to use blockchain technology for cross-border inter-bank payments.
  • MAS aims to create an API economy and is actively pushing financial institutions to develop and adopt APIs and to offer as many of them as possible to the broader community. The MAS and ABS will also be publishing the Finance-as-a Service API Playbook to provide guidance on common and useful APIs that financial institutions can make available.

In terms of FinTech regulations, while it was good to hear that the regulators do not intend to stifle innovation, it was clear that the MAS does intend to monitor new innovations closely and then to calibrate the appropriate regulatory response accordingly.

The MAS has now issued the finalised regulatory sandbox guidelines. (see our alert on this here)

We may also expect in the future:

  • A consultation paper from the MAS on the governance, supervision and management of automated, algorithm-based digital advice on finance or investment services by robo-advisers; and
  • Further guidance on the online distribution of life insurance products.