Smart Financial Centre

MAS and the Central Bank of Canada conducted a successful trial focusing on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to increase efficiencies and reduce risks for cross-border payments

2 May 2019

The two central banks have successfully linked up their experimental domestic payment networks, Project Jasper and Project Ubin, which were built on two different DLT platforms. This was the first such trial between two central banks and had the potential to increase efficiencies and reduce risks for cross-border payments.

MAS led the successful development of a blockchain-based prototype that enables payments to be carried out in different currencies on the same network

11 November 2019

This prototype network, developed by MAS in collaboration with J.P. Morgan and Temasek, had the potential to improve cost efficiencies for businesses.

The project report was published on 13 July 2020. Key insights included:

  • Immediate business needs for cross-currency exchange and foreign currency transactions can be met, with the ability to carry out payments in different currencies on the same network
  • Cheaper, faster and safer cross-border payments are possible with an international settlement network modelled after the multi-currency payments network prototype
  • Blockchain networks attained efficiency gains through better connectivity and integration with the payments network prototype, and the use of additional functionalities to simplify operational processes
  • Smart Contracts enabled the rapid prototyping and testing of additional features to support use cases such as Delivery-versus-Payment (DvP) settlement with private exchanges, conditional payments and escrow for trade, as well as payment commitments for trade finance

MAS announced plans to issue up to two digital full bank licences and three digital wholesale bank licences to promote the innovative use of technology and better serve customers’ needs

7 January 2020

The issuance of the new digital bank licences was a significant initiative aimed at enabling non-bank players with strong value propositions and innovative digital business models to offer banking services. This was part of MAS’ continuous efforts to encourage competition and innovation in financial services to better cater to customer needs. With innovative business models and strong digital capabilities, these new digital banks could also cater to under-served segments of the market and add diversity to Singapore’s banking system.

MAS received 21 applications from a diverse group of applicants including those from the technology and e-commerce sectors, FinTechs and financial institutions. On 18 June 2020, MAS announced that 14 of the 21 digital bank applications met the eligibility criteria needed for the application to be considered. These eligible applicants, comprised five digital full bank (DFB) applicants and nine digital wholesale bank (DWB) applicants, would progress to the next stage of assessment. The licences would be awarded in the second half of 2020.

MAS and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) jointly organised the inaugural Afro-Asia FinTech Festival to promote digital infrastructure development in Kenya

15-16 July 2019

The Festival held in Nairobi, Kenya brought together about 2,000 attendees from 43 countries. There were also more than 100 speakers who are thought leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs from Africa and Asia. The two central banks also signed a FinTech Cooperation Agreement to collaborate on developing basic digital infrastructure services for Kenya, including identity, data and Know-Your-Customer utility, based on a set of common standards.

MAS and the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen collaboration and share best practices in FinTech

12 November 2019

MAS and eight members of the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen collaboration in FinTech between Singapore and CSA’s member jurisdictions, which included Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Québec and Saskatchewan. The collaboration would facilitate FinTech firms in Singapore and Canada to access each other’s markets and allow CSA members and MAS to regularly exchange views and share information on latest FinTech trends.

MAS and the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen cooperation in FinTech innovation between both countries

4 April 2019

Under the MOU, both countries would share information on emerging market trends and developments in FinTech, as well as regulatory issues pertaining to innovation in financial services. The two authorities would also work together to conduct joint training sessions to share expertise to foster cross-border cooperation.

Singapore and the US issued a Joint Statement on Financial Services Data Connectivity to allow financial service suppliers to transfer data across borders

6 February 2020

The Joint Statement reflected the shared objectives of both Singapore and the US to ensure that financial institutions have the ability to aggregate, store, process and transmit data across borders while preserving regulators’ full and timely access to data for regulatory and supervisory purposes.

Singapore and Australia agreed to enhance data connectivity in financial services between both countries under the Singapore-Australia Digital Economy Agreement (DEA)

23 March 2020

The DEA would ensure that financial institutions operating in Singapore and Australia are able to transfer information seamlessly across borders.

MAS organised the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) 2019 with a focus on sustainability and climate change

11-15 November 2019

Branded as SFF x SWITCH, the festival featured an inaugural partnership with the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH) organised by Enterprise Singapore and the National Research Foundation. SFF x SWITCH attracted more than 60,000 participants from over 140 countries with close to 1,000 exhibitors.

MAS supported the launch of a prototype for an industry-wide FinTech Research Platform by Deloitte and S&P Global Market Intelligence to facilitate FinTech investments in Singapore

12 November 2019

The prototype was jointly developed by MAS, Deloitte and S&P Global Market Intelligence.  It was an online platform designed to increase transparency, enhance access and expedite due diligence by investors and financial institutions looking for FinTech start-ups to partner with or invest in. The next phase of the project would involve building a live pilot of the platform.

Fintech investments in Singapore reached $1.2 billion

20 February 2020

Accenture reported that FinTech investments in Singapore had more than doubled in 2019, which demonstrated strong recognition from global investors of the potential of Singapore’s FinTech ecosystem. In collaboration with ESG, MAS hosted ‘Deal Fridays’, a series of curated weekly investor-company match-making events from June to November 2019. Deal Fridays kicked off again in March 2020 with weekly sessions to foster a strong fundraising ecosystem.

MAS launched Sandbox Express to provide firms with a faster option to test innovative financial products and services

7 August 2019

Sandbox Express covered insurance broking, recognised market operators and remittance businesses. Eligible applicants could begin market testing within 21 days of application, much shorter than under the existing FinTech Regulatory Sandbox.

MAS announced the formation of a consortium that comprised financial industry partners to create “Veritas” - a framework for financial institutions to promote the responsible use of Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics

November 2019

“Veritas”, which has been included in the Singapore National AI Strategy, would enable financial institutions to validate their AIDA-driven solutions against the principles of Fairness, Ethics, Accountability and Transparency (FEAT). The consortium identified two initial use cases to focus on, namely (a) credit risk scoring, and (b) customer marketing. The consortium would go on to develop specific metrics to validate FEAT for these use cases, and has targeted to publish its report by the end of 2020.