Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I thank GIC for the invitation and am pleased to meet all of you.
About three-and-a-half years ago, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) made a momentous decision – to promote an innovative and dynamic financial sector by working with the industry to harness the power of technology.
- We saw that technology was transforming the way people live their lives, the way companies deliver products and services, and the way cities work and connect.
- Meanwhile, the financial industry globally was facing the headwinds of slower economic growth, tighter regulation, and keen competition from non-financial technology players.
Technology presented an opportunity to inject new dynamism and new growth in financial services.
- It was an opportunity to increase efficiency in an industry that had some of the most archaic practices around – just think of interbank payments and settlements.
- It was an opportunity to manage risks better: financial institutions were pouring ever more resources into compliance and risk management – and still getting into trouble.
- Most of all, it was an opportunity to improve people’s lives
- to bring financial services to the unbanked and uninsured in Asia;
- to help a growing middle class plan its finances more holistically and efficiently;
- to help enterprises raise money, make payments, and tap new markets.
In short: to maintain its position as one of the top financial centres in the world, Singapore must embrace FinTech – harnessing its benefits, managing its risks.
Thus began Singapore’s FinTech journey. And by FinTech, I mean two things:
- encourage and support financial institutions to experiment and harness technology; and
- promote non-financial FinTech players to provide competition and inject innovation so that the ecosystem as a whole benefits.
MAS takes an even-handed approach, allowing competition between financial institutions and non-financial FinTech players as well as facilitating collaboration among them.
And of course, doing all this with a keen eye on managing the risks associated with technology – safeguarding financial stability and maintaining public confidence.
MAS and the financial industry are not doing this in a vacuum, but within the larger context of Singapore’s Smart Nation agenda – to build a digital economy and society for higher productivity and more gracious living.