Published Date: 10 May 2018

Prime Minister's Office (Monetary Authority of Singapore) Addendum to the President’s Address

Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam
Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister-in-charge of MAS

1   The Singapore economy is restructuring towards higher value-added activities while adjusting to a more moderate rate of economic growth in line with slowing labour force growth. The Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) monetary policy will facilitate this economic transition, by ensuring that consumer price inflation is kept low and providing a conducive macroeconomic environment for innovation and investment.

2   The financial sector is integral to Singapore’s growth as a competitive economy, a globally connected city, and a Smart Nation. As an integrated regulator and supervisor of the financial sector, MAS will safeguard the stability of Singapore’s financial system while ensuring that our regulatory frameworks remain supportive of innovation. MAS will work with the financial industry to advance FinTech innovations including those aimed at more convenient and lower-cost services for consumers, support Asia’s development while being a leading hub in global finance, and serving the growth of the Singapore economy.

Dynamic and Innovative Financial Centre

3   The Financial Services Industry Transformation Map (ITM) sets out strategies to grow the financial services sector by 4.3% per annum, and create annually 3,000 net jobs in financial services and an additional 1,000 in the FinTech sector from 2016 to 2020. The ITM comprises three broad thrusts – leveraging global and regional opportunities, embracing innovation, and deepening the talent pool.

Leverage Global and Regional Opportunities

4   Asia is expected to remain economically the most dynamic region in the world, with demand for financial services growing robustly with growing infrastructural needs and rising affluence. MAS will implement strategies to facilitate the growth of infrastructure financing, trade financing, and enterprise financing to support the region’s development. We will support industry efforts to increase insurance penetration in the region and catalyse effective disaster risk financing solutions. We will also strengthen our capital markets infrastructure to boost liquidity and price discovery in the foreign exchange, debt, and equity markets. MAS will anchor deeper asset management capabilities in Singapore, and implement the new Singapore Variable Capital Company structure to position Singapore as a global hub for fund management and domiciliation.

5   MAS will work with the industry to enhance connectivity with our key regional markets including China, India, and ASEAN. With Singapore chairing ASEAN in 2018, MAS will work with fellow ASEAN member states and industry partners to pursue initiatives to achieve sustainable growth, boost economic resilience, and foster innovation in the region. MAS is also exploring innovative trade finance connectivity and cross-border real-time payment linkages with key partners in the region.

Promote Innovation and Technology

6   MAS has been at the forefront globally in the use of regulatory sandboxes to encourage experimentation, and will enhance this approach. We will strengthen the payments infrastructure to enable real-time, convenient electronic payment transfers. MAS worked with the industry to roll out PayNow, enabling people to make inter-bank transfers conveniently and securely using just their mobile number or NRIC. PayNow will be extended to allow businesses to pay each other and receive payments from customers seamlessly, for efficiency gains and cost reduction.

Develop Talent and Skills

7   MAS will work with all stakeholders to help equip financial sector professionals with specialist skills and the expertise to leverage technology and data. More professional conversion programmes will be developed in various areas of specialisation, geared to emerging job roles. MAS will work with the Institute of Banking and Finance and tripartite partners to set up a dedicated career centre to provide job matching and placement assistance.

Robust and Trusted Financial Centre

8   MAS will continue to enhance its financial regulatory framework to help ensure stability amidst volatile global financial markets as well as new and emerging risks.  We will strengthen cyber resilience across the industry and leverage technology to enhance our supervision and enforcement capabilities. MAS has implemented a 24/7 surveillance system to monitor cyber threats in the financial industry, and will strengthen capabilities in cyber intelligence and enhance platforms for information exchange on cyber incidents.

9   MAS will increasingly employ data analytics to sharpen its surveillance of risks in major financial institutions. We will employ advanced techniques such as network analysis and text and voice analytics to support our investigation and enforcement actions.

10   Beyond setting rules, MAS is working to foster a culture that motivates ethical behaviour and responsible risk-taking in the financial industry. Culture and conduct weaknesses underlie many cases of misconduct, poor governance, and excessive risk-taking. MAS will propose guidelines to raise standards of conduct across the financial industry, and step up supervisory reviews relating to risk governance and culture in financial institutions.