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MAS sets goal to make all data requests to financial institutions in machine readable templates

Featured image via the Singapore FinTech Festival Twitter Page. 

In his opening speech at the Singapore FinTech Festival today, Mr. Ravi Menon, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that MAS is setting a goal to make all its data requests to financial institutions in machine readable templates. Currently, financial institutions’ data submissions to MAS often involve manual processes to extract the information from their databases and fill up the MAS-provided form or template. On the side of MAS, processing such data is also done manually. 

The eventual aim is that the requested data will flow seamlessly from financial institutions’ databases to our forms and ultimately to the supervisory dashboards of MAS officers, with no need for “cutting and pasting” data and information. MAS will work with the industry on an implementation plan and a reasonable timeline to make it happen.

Mr. Menon also explained that it is not only the financial industry that needs FinTech, but regulators as well. MAS has embarked on its own FinTech journey to make its supervision more effective and the compliance burden it imposes less painful. For instance, one of the most difficult things to detect in the market is collusive behaviour and price manipulation.

MAS has put in place a data analytics and pattern recognition system, to study trading behaviour and detect accounts that may be acting in concert to manipulate share prices, or engaging in circular trading to create a false impression of market interest. 

Another example is that MAS is now working on a data analytics system to scour through the 3,000 “suspicious transaction reports”, or STRs, that financial institutions file each month on money laundering or terrorist financing risks. A major source of pain for financial institutions is regulators requesting for the same data more than once under different data collection exercises. MAS intends to fix this by taking a more cohesive approach to data and will aim to achieve zero duplications in its data requests to financial institutions. If MAS asks for the data twice, the institution will be allowed to gently turn it down. 

Mr. Menon said MAS is working with the industry to make this a reality.

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