The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with World Bank’s financial arm IFC. Both the entities are collaborating in order to set up and develop the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN). With AFIN, they together aim to facilitate broader adoption of FinTech innovation and development and enhance economic integration within the ASEAN region.

The initiative is a result of deliberate discussions carried out between IFC, MAS and the ASEAN Bankers Association (ABA). This will first step in an initiative which will witness ABA playing a significant role in facilitating financial inclusion across the region. Vivek Pathak, IFC’s Director for East Asia & the Pacific, said,

The initiative builds on IFC’s efforts to deepen access to finance for underserved segments of the population.

IFC and MAS, through AFIN, aim to establish a regional network to assist financial institutions, FinTech firms. and regulators in addressing issues of connectivity, local compliance, and cross-border compatibility. AFIN will also focus on evaluating options to create an industry “sandbox”. This will enable the body to offer a cloud-based testing environment through which banks and FinTech players can develop, test and refine digital finance and inclusion solutions. Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS, said,

MAS is pleased to partner with IFC and further its discussions with ABA to help establish an industry sandbox infrastructure that promotes real-time collaboration and financial innovation. This industry sandbox will be a cloud-based marketplace for distribution of FinTech solutions to financial institutions located in multiple jurisdictions.


The MoU was signed at IFC’s Digital Finance Partners Meeting 2017, Banking at a Crossroads, held in Singapore. Hosted by the IFC, it provided a platform for regional and global leaders to deliberate on innovations, challenges, opportunities and solutions in the digital finance industry. Vivek added this initiative builds on IFC’s efforts to facilitate access to finance for underserved segments of the population. He further stated,

AFIN will enable banks, microfinance institutions, and other financial services providers to innovate across channels, products, and processes. Such innovation can unlock opportunities to better serve their clients, address unmet needs in their markets, and achieve sustainability through lower costs and more efficient service delivery.

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