MAS Keen on Making Singapore an API Economy

18 Nov

By Kajal Joshi, The Tech Portal

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) along with Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) is organizing a week-long “Singapore Fintech Festival” which commenced on November 14.

Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS, today (November 16) spoke at the FinTech Conference, held as part of the five-day long event. He remarked about the transformation Financial technology or fin-tech is bringing across financial services. With unprecedented mobility, connectivity, and computing power, the changes are tremendously benefitting the community. Digital payments, blockchain, big data, all kinds of innovations and emerging fields are making our lives advanced yet simpler.

Last year, MAS laid out a vision for a Smart Financial Centre, where innovation is pervasive and technology is used widely. MAS’ role in supporting the FinTech journey is two-fold. It has provided regulation conducive to innovation while fostering safety and security with a few concrete initiatives which include activity-based regulation to keep pace with payments innovations, specific guidelines to promote secure cloud computing, enabling digital financial advice and insurance, a regulatory sandbox to test innovative ideas and, strengthening cyber security.

Secondly, it has been working to facilitate infrastructure for an innovation ecosystem and adoption of new technologies. Ravi added, to facilitate such an ecosystem MAS began with itself, last year, they formed within MAS a new FinTech & Innovation Group under a Chief FinTech Officer to work with the financial industry and fin-tech players with an aim to foster a conducive ecosystem for innovation.

The organisation has committed S$225 million (or US$160 million) over five years to support the development of a vibrant FinTech ecosystem. Also, earlier this year, MAS and the National Research Foundation (NRF) had established a FinTech Office to provide a one-stop point-of-contact for all FinTech matters.

The island-nation has more than 20 global FIs, who’ve set up innovation centres, and the ABS is working on key initiatives to make electronic payments seamless and convenient for everyone.

Ravi stressed over the fact of how MAS wants to create an API Economy. Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are basically a set of protocols that define how one system or application interacts with another, usually from the perspective of information exchange. He added that they likely to be one of the most important building blocks for innovation in the future economy. MAS aims to establish Singapore as a centre of excellence for APIs on financial services. Ravi stated,

We are actively pushing FIs to develop and adopt APIs, and to offer as many of them as possible to the broader community.

Also during the event, he announced the launch of “Finance-as-a-Service API Playbook”. The API Playbook provides guidance on common and useful APIs that FIs could make available. He told that some of their Financial Institutions are announcing their API initiatives over the course of this week and said,

MAS had published last week 12 APIs for its most heavily used data sets. We will progressively expand the list.

The festival, which is scheduled to conclude on 18th, has been witnessing a series of distinct FinTech events for the global Fintech community with over 11,000 participants from more than 50 countries.

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