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MAS Targets FX as Part of Growth Plan

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) says it will encourage key FX players to site their pricing and matching engines in the city state as it strives to become “a leading financial centre in Asia”.

In a speech delivered launching Singapore’s industry transformation map (ITM), Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and MAS Board member, described MAS’ vision for Singapore being one that connects global markets, supports Asia’s development, and serves Singapore’s economy.

The ITM was drawn up by MAS in consultation with the financial industry and the tripartite movement, MAS says.

With technology transforming the way financial services are produced, delivered, and consumed, MAS says it is “critical” that Singapore’s financial sector also transforms, to stay “relevant and competitive”.

The ITM states that Singapore aims to be a leading international wealth management hub as well as the Asian hub for fund management and domiciliation. 

It is also seeking to become the “global forex price discovery and liquidity centre in the Asian time zone, it adds, noting Singapore is currently the third largest FX centre globally. “With Asia expected to attract a larger share of global investment flows, MAS will encourage key FX players to anchor their matching and pricing engines here, to enable market participants to benefit from better liquidity and greater efficiency in executing FX transactions,” MAS states.

A key focus of the ITM will be to “facilitate pervasive innovation in the financial sector and encourage the adoption of technology for increasing efficiency and creating opportunity”. To this end, MAS says it will step up efforts to encourage financial institutions to enhance connectivity and FinTech innovation through Application Programming Interfaces; collaborate with financial institutions to create common utilities, such as for electronic payments, digital ID, and electronic know-your-client checks; facilitate and invest in R&D to develop new solutions, including the use of distributed ledger technology for inter-bank payments and trade finance; expand the web of cross-border cooperation agreements with other key FinTech centres, helping to grow Singapore as a base for foreign FinTech start-ups; and harness technology to simplify financial institutions’ regulatory compliance. 

The Authority also says it will continue to enhance its regulatory approach, to support enterprise and innovation, while maintaining financial soundness. Key priorities include ensuring that regulations are supportive of innovative business models and strengthening the cyber resilience of financial institutions.

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Colin Lambert

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