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Singapore launches $225 million financial technology initiative

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched a scheme to fund infrastructure to deliver financial technology (fintech) services.01 Jul 2015

The $225 million (US$167 million) Financial Sector Technology and Innovation (FSTI) scheme is part of the Singapore government's 'smart nation' initiative, Ravi Menon, managing director of MAS, told a technology law conference in Singapore.

DBS, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Metlife and UBS have all applied for FSTI funds, and plan to set up innovation centres, Menon said.

Other projects to be supported by the FSTI include a decentralised record-keeping system that prevents duplicate invoicing in trade finance, a cyber-risk test bed and a natural catastrophe data analytics exchange, Menon said.

MAS will develop a regulatory approach to both strengthen cyber security and encourage the adoption of new technologies. This will include developing digital payment systems, regulatory reporting, and smart surveillance, Menon said.

High Court judge Lee Seiu Kin said at the event that the law needs to evolve along with technological developments, the Straits Times reported.

"Electronic commerce has been indubitably improved by the proliferation of convenient payment solutions such as PayPal and credit cards," he said, according to the report. "The rise of virtual currencies such as bitcoin has provided a refreshing take on traditional exchanges of value. [But] these technological creations have brought with them complex regulatory challenges since they could easily be turned into vehicles for criminal conduct."

Singapore must also be ready for changes to jobs and the skills that they need, Menon said, as technology will "make obsolete many jobs in the financial sector, but … also create new ones". 

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