The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has inked a FinTech cooperation agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to push for the adoption of financial technologies in Asia.
Singapore’s central bank and the IFC, a World Bank Group member that is primarily tasked to encourage private sector development in emerging economies, are working together to facilitate the adoption of FinTech innovation in the ASEAN region.
They aim to do so with the establishment of the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN), a regional network spread across the south-east Asia overseen by the MAS and the IFC. Overseen by the two institutions, this network will help the region’s FinTech startups, banks and regulators to address concerns in connectivity, compliance and cross-border compatibility for interoperability.
Ultimately, the goal is to drive financial inclusion in the region, according to MAS FinTech chief Sopnendu Mohanty.
The official stated in an announcement today:
We believe that innovation and digital technology can play a decisive role in enhancing financial access for a wider population.
The FinTech network will also create ‘sandbox’ for startups, banks and companies developing innovative financial technologies to test their wares. Based on the cloud, the testing environment is akin to the successful FinTech sandbox installed by Singapore’s central bank.
“This industry sandbox will be a cloud-based marketplace for distribution of FinTech solutions to financial institutions located in multiple jurisdictions,” Mohanty added. “We hope this platform could also spur discussions among participating regulators on cross-border policy harmonization across ASEAN.”
Integrated with the World Bank Group, IFC sees poverty reduction through private sector development among its primary tasks. It works toward this goal through creating job opportunities with increased access to microfinancing, supporting small businesses, improving health and education, fostering sustainable agricultural yields and more.
“The inclusion of financial technologies, is opening up the underserved masses to a whole new range of services,” stated Vivek Pathak, IFC director for East Asia & Pacific. “In today’s world, it is feasible to reach these segments of the population at a fraction of the cost and at a speed that was not feasible earlier.”
IFC claims to have invested some $400 million in 30 FinTech firms and digital financial services providers so far, raising the possibility of enabling support to industry startups in need of financing for growth.
Featured image from Shutterstock.