The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced several financial technology initiatives and collaborations during the sixth edition of the Singapore FinTech Festival, which was held from November 08, 2021 to November 12, 2021. The theme for the 2021 Festival was “Web 3.0 and its impact on financial services.” During the conference, global thought leaders shared their views on how Web 3.0 will shape new business models and present new opportunities for building a sustainable future in financial services and the digital economy. Over 160 countries were represented, with 52% of the registrations coming from outside of Singapore, reflecting the global appeal of the Web 3.0 theme. Among other initiatives, MAS announced new platforms to address the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data gaps in Singapore.
MAS and its partner agencies made the following announcements:
- National Artificial Intelligence Program in Finance. MAS and the National Artificial Intelligence Office (NAIO) launched the National Artificial Intelligence Program in Finance to build deep artificial intelligence capabilities within Singapore’s financial sector to strengthen customer service, risk management, and business competitiveness.
- Phase two of Singapore Financial Data Exchange. MAS and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group launched the second phase of the Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex), allowing individuals to view information on their investment holdings at The Central Depository as part of their consolidated financial position.
- Sandbox Plus. MAS announced Sandbox Plus, an enhancement to the MAS FinTech Regulatory Sandbox framework, to further catalyze financial innovation and fintech adoption. The enhancements include expansion of eligibility criteria to include early adopters of technology innovation and allowing first movers of technology innovation to concurrently apply to enter the Regulatory Sandbox and receive a financial grant, in a single application.
- Retail Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) paper. MAS released a paper outlining MAS’ preliminary assessment of the economic case for a retail CBDC in Singapore and its potential implications for financial stability and monetary policy.
Additionally, several industry collaborations and other initiatives were launched to drive innovation in the future of finance:
- Digital platforms under Project Greenprint. MAS announced its partnership with the industry to pilot four digital platforms under Project Greenprint, with the pilots expected to be completed in the second half of 2022. These four pilot platforms are the Greenprint Common Disclosure Portal to simplify ESG disclosure process, the Greenprint Data Orchestrator to aggregate sustainability data from multiple data sources, the Greenprint Marketplace to connect green technology providers with partners and investors, and the Greenprint ESG Registry to record and maintain the provenance of ESG certifications in different sectors as well as data and metrics that are verified by qualified third-party auditors.
- ChekFin on APIX. ChekFin, a decentralized credentials platform to enable financial institutions to obtain verified credentials of fintech firms, including business references, awards obtained, and investor funding records. ChekFin is a partnership among the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network, BCG FinTech Control Tower, and Affinidi, with MAS as a founding partner.
- Cross-border digital payments. NETS announced integration of Alipay+ to enhance local merchants’ cross-border digital payment capabilities and Western Union announced that it is supporting cross-border digital money movement with Singtel’s Dash.
- Small business financing. Mastercard launched the world’s first “Buy Now, Pay Later” commercial card solution for small business financing in Asia Pacific.
- Cooperation initiatives. MAS and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas signed an enhanced FinTech Cooperation Agreement to facilitate interoperable payments between Singapore and the Philippines. The Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, in cooperation with finance.swiss, Singapore FinTech Festival, and Elevandi, announced the Europe-Asia FinTech Forum in Switzerland; this Forum will build a bridge between Asia and Europe and seek to bring together the very best technologists, with investors and leaders to develop innovative ideas and inclusive solutions.
Also announced were the winners of industry awards and competitions, which include Global FinTech Awards (theme was road to recovery from a pandemic), Global FinTech Hackcelerator (focusing on role of green fintech firms in the ecosystem), Global Veritas Challenge (focusing on codifying responsible artificial intelligence), and Global CBDC Challenge (showcasing innovative retail CBDC solutions to enhance payment efficiencies and promote financial inclusion). This year’s Global Veritas Challenge focused on four use cases: product marketing; risk, compliance, and fraud monitoring; loan origination and know-your-customer (KYC); and credit scoring and profiling. The winners, selected from a pool of ten finalists, successfully addressed key challenges in validating the fairness of artificial intelligence solutions for specific banking use cases. The Festival was organized by MAS and Elevandi, in partnership with The Association of Banks in Singapore and in collaboration with Constellar Holdings. Next year, the Singapore FinTech Festival is expected to take place during November 07, 2022 to November 11, 2022.
Keywords: Asia Pacific, Singapore, Banking, Insurance, Securities, Lending, Disclosures, ESG, Sustainable Finance, SMEs, Loan Origination, CBDC, Regtech, Singapore Fintech Festival, Web 3.0, Fintech, Credit Portfolio Management, MAS
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