The International Financial Corporation (IFC), which is part of the World Bank Group, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), have signed a memorandum of cooperation. The two parties have set themselves the goal of developing the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN). The entities plan on building the network to enable broader adoption of financial technology (fintech) innovation, as well as to improve economic integration within the ASEAN area’s borders.
The regional network will assist financial institutions, fintech companies, and regulators in addressing issues related to connectivity, local compliance, and cross-border compatibility. In addition, AFIN will further help evaluate the option of creating an industry ‘sandbox’. This will offer a cloud-based environment designed for testing, where banks and fintech firms will be able to develop new digital finance ideas, test and refine them, and find solutions.
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This initiative stems from discussions between the IFC, MAS, and the ASEAN Bankers Association (ABA) along with their engagement in the regional broader financial and fintech ecosystem. With the memorandum, we can expect the ABA to have a significant role in assisting the expansion of access to financial services across the area.
“Banking at a Crossroads”, the IFC’s Digital Finance Partners Meeting 2017 in Singapore, was where the signing took place. The event brought together more than 150 senior executives from financial institutions, technology providers, and fintech companies from various countries. The IFC’s Financial Institutions Group hosted the event, and it provided a place for Singaporean, global, and regional leaders to discuss challenges, innovations, solutions, and opportunities in the digital finance industry.
Mr. Sopnendu Mohanty, the Chief FinTech Officer at MAS, stated: “We believe that innovation and digital technology can play a decisive role in enhancing financial access for a wider population. 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. We hope that this platform could also spur discussions amongst participating regulators on cross-border policy harmonisation across ASEAN.”