The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has officially launched its FinTech Innovation Lab known as Looking Glass @ MAS today. The facility is located within the headquarters building.
According to an official statement, the name was inspired by the famous book – “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found in There” by Lewis Caroll. It was chosen because it represents a glimpse into a different world where innovation is pervasive, and a warm place for its residents to pursue their passion, protected from the old way of doing things. The incubator is built with the aim to:
- Facilitate collaborations between MAS, tech companies and financial institutions to test out fintech solutions.
- Bring in industry experts to provide consultation to startups on the areas of legal, regulation and other business-related matters.
- Be a venue to host relevant training sessions and networking sessions for the fintech community.
MAS has been encouraging financial institutions to anchor their innovation labs in Singapore. Today, we are pleased to open our own FinTech Innovation Lab, underscoring MAS’ commitment to promoting a culture of innovation in the financial sector.
said Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS.
Reviewing VC rules to strengthen FinTech sector
In addition to this, MAS is also reviewing venture funding rules as the nation aims to broaden the scope of funding for start-ups in financial technology. According to a report by Today, Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, said that Singapore can still has ways to go in terms of venture capital funding and tech talent for tech companies. Menon also said that MAS will be working with polytechnics and universities to train more Singaporeans to take up fintech jobs. He further said that shortage of capital and tech talent are the two key challenges as Singapore works to position itself as one of Asia’s top locations for fintech companies.
Hence, the regulatory policy framework for VC firms setting up shop here have to evolve in order for companies to stay on top of new innovations.
Strategies to bolster Electronic Payments
MAS last week in an official statement revealed the efforts it plans to put in order to promote the e-payments scenario in the nation. It has published a “Singapore Payments Roadmap” which it commissioned KPMG Advisory to produce. Managing Director of MAS, Ravi Menon, described ongoing initiatives for swift, simple, secure payments, enhancing convenience for customers and productivity for businesses.
KPMG observed that Singapore had the requisite components to be a best-in-class jurisdiction in the area of payments but would need to take several steps to improve the scenario –
- Streamline and strengthen the regulatory framework: The new payments regime will provide MAS the flexibility to address emerging risk areas like cyber security and consumer protection. The new framework will help promote innovation and encourage non-traditional FinTech players to access the Singapore market and provide a wider spectrum of payment solutions.
- Establish a new governance model for payments: The report recommends strengthening the governance model and creating a national payments council to coordinate key initiatives, such as promoting interoperability and adopting common standards. The payments council will comprise representatives from among users and providers of payment solutions. With the council, consumers and businesses can expect greater coordination and alignment among payment initiatives at the national level.
- Enhance the adoption of electronic payments: The report also welcomes several key infrastructure projects being undertaken by the industry that have the potential to transform the payment landscape for recurring, retail and peer-to-peer payments. These include enabling more convenient payments through a centralised addressing system and creating a seamless consumer experience with unified point-of-sale payment terminals.