IFC, MAS join forces to develop fintech innovation in Asean

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SINGAPORE (May 23): IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) signed a memorandum of cooperation on Tuesday, agreeing to work together to establish and develop the Asean Financial Innovation Network (AFIN).

The network aims to facilitate broader adoption of financial technology (fintech) innovation and development, and enhance economic integration within the Asean region.

Through AFIN, IFC and MAS plan to establish a regional network to help financial institutions, fintech firms and regulators address issues of connectivity, local compliance and cross border compatibility.

AFIN will also evaluate options to create an industry “sandbox” to provide a cloud-based testing environment through which banks and fintech players can develop, test and refine digital finance and inclusion solutions.

Further to the 2016 Singapore FinTech Festival, this initiative has emerged from discussions between IFC, MAS and the Asean Bankers Association (ABA), and through their engagement with the broader financial and FinTech ecosystem in the region. This memorandum between MAS and IFC is the first step in an initiative which will also foresee ABA playing an important role in helping to expand access to financial services across the region.

The signing took place during “Banking at a Crossroads”, IFC’s Digital Finance Partners Meeting 2017 in Singapore, bringing together over 150 senior-level executives from leading financial institutions, technology companies and FinTech firms from around the globe.

The meeting was hosted by IFC’s Financial Institutions Group to provide a platform for Singaporean, global and regional leaders to deliberate on innovations, challenges, opportunities and solutions in the digital finance industry.

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... We hope that this platform could also spur discussions amongst participating regulators on cross-border policy harmonisation across Asean.”

To date, IFC has delivered 75 advisory projects in digital financial services worldwide, and has invested S$400 million in close to 30 fintech firms and digital financial services providers.