SINGAPORE: An online fintech marketplace, the API Exchange (APIX), will be launched on Wednesday (Nov 14) by the ASEAN Financial innovation Network (AFIN) in a bid to increase financial inclusion in hard-to-reach markets.
The AFIN is spearheaded by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the ASEAN Bankers Association and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.
There are about 1.7 billion adults globally who are unbanked, and one in three of them come from four countries in Asia - China, India, Pakistan and Indonesia, said the managing director of MAS, Ravi Menon, at the opening of the third Singapore FinTech Festival 2018 on Monday.
APIX will enable financial institutions to discover and connect with fintech firms through API channels on a "globally curated" platform, he said.
It will also serve as a sandbox for financial institutions and fintech firms to collaborate and experiment on solutions.
Singapore's central bank, MAS, has also released a set of principles to promote fairness, ethics, accountability and transparency (FEAT) in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics.
“This is the first of its kind in the world - where regulator and industry have come together to set guidance on responsible use of AI and data analytics,” said Mr Menon.
"This will be a living document that will continue to be modified as we learn more."
FINTECH BOOST FOR SMES
Mr Menon also announced other initiatives to boost small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The MAS and the Government Technology Agency of Singapore are working with industry to facilitate financial institutions’ credit assessment of SMEs using trusted government data.
Currently, young SMEs face difficulties in obtaining bank financing due to a lack of credit history.
The MAS plans to pool data from trusted government sources on the business and key individuals of the SMEs to facilitate informed credit assessment. A pilot with three banks will run in the first half of 2019.
In addition, SMEs may see greater access to digital service providers.
The MAS is teaming up with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to create a cross-border innovation platform for SMEs called Business sans Borders.
The initiative will enable companies to connect to global services marketplace to digitalise their business, at the same time it will also allow solution providers to more effectively reach out to SMEs.
Mr Menon said close to 40,000 participants from more than 100 countries will be attending the festival, which ends Friday, making it the biggest gathering of global fintech community, he said.