28 November 2019
The annual Singapore FinTech Festival (“SFF”) was held from 11 to 15 November 2019. Organised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) in partnership with the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) and in collaboration with SingEx Holdings, this year’s SFF merged with the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH) to form SFF x SWITCH. The event featured innovative technologies across five key sectors: FinTech, urban solutions and sustainability, health and biomedical sciences, advanced manufacturing and engineering, and digital services.
This article discusses some of the key developments and initiatives announced during the course of SFF x SWITCH.
Initiatives with the industry
Framework to promote responsible adoption of artificial intelligence
MAS announced it is working with financial industry partners to create a framework for financial institutions to promote the responsible adoption of Artificial Intelligence and Data Analytics (“AIDA”). This framework, called Veritas, will allow financial institutions to evaluate their AIDA-driven solutions against the FEAT (fairness, ethics, accountability and transparency) principles released by MAS in 2018. Veritas aims to provide financial institutions with a verifiable way to incorporate the FEAT principles into their AIDA solutions. It will consist of open source tools that can be applied to different business lines, such as retail banking and corporate finance, and in different markets.
Green finance action plan
MAS will launch a US$2 billion Green Investments Programme under which MAS will invest in public market investment strategies which have a strong green focus, and place funds with asset managers who are committed to deepening green finance activities and capabilities in Singapore.
Project Ubin Phase 5
MAS announced that it has led the successful development of a blockchain-based prototype that enables payments to be carried out in different currencies on the same network. This prototype network has the potential to improve cost efficiencies for businesses.
This development marks the latest milestone for Project Ubin which is into its fifth phase. Project Ubin is a collaborative project with the industry to explore the use of blockchain and distributed ledger technology for clearing and settlement of payments and securities. Building on the work in Phase 4 of Project Ubin, the payments network will provide interfaces for other blockchain networks to connect and integrate seamlessly. It will also offer additional features to support use cases such as Delivery-versus-Payment (DvP) settlement with private exchanges, conditional payments and escrow for trade, and payment commitments for trade finance.
Business sans Borders
Business sans Borders (“BSB”) is a “meta-hub” or connector of several platforms allowing small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”) to seamlessly access a larger ecosystem of buyers, sellers, logistics service providers, financing, and digital solution providers.
MAS and the Info-communications Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) announced the successful completion of its BSB Phase One Proof-of-Concept (“POC”).
MAS and IMDA will proceed with the Phase Two Pilot of the BSB in 1H 2020. The Phase Two Pilot of the BSB will be trialled with real SME transactions on participating platforms starting with those based in Singapore, the Philippines, and India. It will be open to participants such as trade bodies, business-to-business and business-to-consumer platforms, solution providers/FinTechs, SMEs and government agencies.
BIS Innovation Hub Centre
MAS and the Bank for International Settlements (“BIS”) jointly launched the BIS Innovation Hub Centre in Singapore to foster innovation and greater collaboration among the central banking community globally. The Hub Centre in Singapore will initially focus on two projects. The first project is to establish a framework for public digital infrastructures on identity, consent and data sharing. The second project is to create a digital platform connecting regulators and supervisors with digital and technology solution providers.
Partnerships with financial authorities
MAS also established partnerships with financial authorities in Canada and France, to strengthen cooperation in FinTech and cybersecurity respectively. This has brought the total number of FinTech cooperation agreements that MAS has with international counterparts to 33 to-date.
A joint media release issued by MAS, Enterprise Singapore and the National Research Foundation featuring various developments and initiatives following the conclusion SFF x SWITCH is available on the MAS website www.mas.gov.sg or by clicking here.