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Digital Tech, Key to Expanding Financial Services in the Asian Region

Digital Technologies for Financial Services in Asia

Participants at the recent Asia Finance Forum learned how digital technologies could bring new opportunities to provide financial services to vast underserved populations in Asia and the Pacific.

According to a recent press release, the Forum explained that people need to be well-prepared for this wave of emerging technologies.

At the same time, governments should also ensure appropriate policy efforts to counter potential risks.

Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Mr Bambang Susantono, said, “Technologies applied in the context of regulatory sandboxes for testing financial innovations, distributed ledger technology such as blockchain, establishing digital IDs through the use of biometrics, and so on have the potential to efficiently address long-standing obstacles and make real progress in expanding financial access.”

The Problem of Financial Exclusion

Around 1.7 billion people worldwide have no access to the formal banking and financial system, with around half of them in Asia and the Pacific.

This financial exclusion has a variety of causes that include the following:

  1. People living in remote locations
  2. Lack of required identification or collateral
  3. High fees
  4. Services that do not match banking needs

While financial technology (fintech) can provide solutions to such challenges, it also brings some risks.

Asian financial markets are increasingly interconnected both regionally and globally. Fast digital technologies could accelerate the contagion from a negative event in a single country.

As such, regulators and other financial authorities in Asia and the Pacific should cooperate and coordinate their oversight of fintech.

There is a need to proactively search for ways to ensure the new technologies are financially inclusive as well as ensure that information security, data, consumer protection, and financial stability are at the centre of preparation for digital financial services.

Support for Fintech Innovation

The Bank has been supporting innovations in fintech in Asia and the Pacific.

For instance, the Bank has helped roll out a cloud-based banking pilot in Mindanao, in the southern Philippines.

Furthermore, ADB is working on a digital access tool through the use of a biometric ID system in Papua New Guinea in order to provide access to financial services for people without formal documentation.

The Bank has also implemented a weather index-based crop insurance pilot project using mobile banking services for over 9,500 small rice farmers in Bangladesh.

500 participants from fintech innovators, technology companies, banks, regulators, as well as other experts gathered at the forum to share their expertise and lessons.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty.

In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to US$ 21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members, 49 of which are from the region.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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