Streamlining Singapore and Facilitating Fintech

By Madhvi Mavadiya | 19 August 2016

Financial regulations are being altered in order to ensure that electronic payments can be facilitated in Singapore and this news follows many announcements from the city-state that show that this region is dedicated to becoming a fintech centre.

Reuters reported on this and explained that the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) intends to streamline existing money exchange, remittance and payments systems law into one legislation which would govern both old and new payment businesses, according to Ravi Menon, managing director of the MAS.

Our vision is to make Singapore an electronic payments society, a society that spurs innovation in payments technology, that gives consumers maximum convenience and confidence in making payments. We will enhance the provisions for consumer protection and strengthen cyber security requirements,” Menon said.

In future, payments provider would only need one license in order to make multiple payments and Menon highlighted that this change needs to happen because the current laws were made for traditional systems. "Fintech is changing the face of payments...It is not efficient for companies to be regulated under two pieces of legislation which were not written with the fintech solutions of today in mind."

Earlier this year, the MAS released a consultation paper for a regulatory sandbox that asked the public to give feedback on fintech innovation guidelines. Deputy managing director Jacqueline Loh of the MAS said that this would “give innovations a better chance to take root”, especially when fintech is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

The sandbox cannot remove all risks, as failure is an inherent characteristic of innovation. In this regard, the sandbox aims to provide an environment where if an experiment fails, its impact on consumers and on financial stability will be limited,” the paper read.

As Singapore aims to develop as a global financial centre, excelling in fintech is a must and last year the MAS committed S$225 to help the fintech industry grow. MAS’s Managing Director Ravi Menon explained how Singapore has embraced fintech.

First, payments at stores and restaurants. This is almost a Uniquely Singapore phenomenon: many of our stores and restaurants have multiple Points-of-Sale (‘POS’) at their payment counters,” Menon said.

Ian Wood, partner at international law firm Simmons & Simmons, believes that Hong Kong should follow in the UK’s and Singapore’s footstep and start thinking about creating a regulatory sandbox, according to Computerworld Hong Kong.

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