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Singapore

Under one roof: Users able to view financial data from bank, government accounts on single platform

SINGAPORE: For those with multiple bank accounts, logging on to numerous platforms for updates and drawing up financial spreadsheets can now be a thing of the past.

This is made possible with the launch of the Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex) on Monday (Dec 7), a digital infrastructure that rides on the national digital identity system SingPass. 

By providing explicit consent, users can now choose to pool all of their financial data – account balances, credit cards, loans and investments – from several banks and government agencies, and view them on a platform of their choice. 

SGFinDex is a joint initiative by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) in collaboration with the financial sector. 

Making the announcement at this year’s Singapore FinTech Festival and the Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said: “This is the world’s first public digital infrastructure that allows a person to sign in using his national digital identity and provide consent to obtain his financial information from different financial institutions and government agencies.” 

READ: Non-bank financial institutions to get access to FAST, PayNow

For now, there are seven participating banks – Citibank, POSB and DBS Bank, HSBC, Maybank, OCBC, Standard Chartered Bank and UOB. 

Users will also be able to retrieve data from three government agencies – the Central Provident Fund (CPF), Housing Board and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) – via MyInfo, the Government’s one-stop data platform. 

Information on insurance policies and stock holdings at the Central Depository will be included in the next phase of SGFinDex, although a timeline for this was not given in the joint press release issued by MAS, SNDGG and the Association of Banks in Singapore on Monday.

HOW IT WORKS

Users can opt to view their consolidated financial information on any of the seven banks’ financial planning websites or mobile applications. 

Those who are not customers of the seven participating banks can use the Government’s new digital financial planning service MyMoneySense.

According to a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the SGFinDex, information from MyInfo will “always be retrieved” when users make a request to retrieve their banking data from any of the participating banks.

“This is to provide you with a consolidated overview of your personal financial health,” the list added.

If users do not want to share their MyInfo data with their bank, he or she can use the MyMoneySense website instead, according to the FAQ. 

Both options will require users to login via SingPass as a form of identity authentication.

After they are logged in, users will be directed to the SGFinDex page where they can select the banks they wish to give consent to release their data. Upon selection, they will be directed to the banks’ respective portals for a second round of authentication.

READ: Grab-Singtel venture, Jack Ma's Ant Group, tech firm Sea among those issued digital bank licences in Singapore

Once successful, the banks will be displayed on the SGFinDex page as a connected financial institution. 

Users will then be taken back to their preferred platform – be it a bank’s app or website, or the Government’s MyMoneySense – where they will be able to view the following:

From banks that have been given consent to release data:

- Current and savings accounts, fixed deposits and joint accounts (Month-end account balance for the last four months)

- Credit cards (Statement balance for the last four months)

- Secured and unsecured loans (Previous month’s statement balance)

- Unit trusts (Previous month’s account balance)

From government agencies:

- Latest available balances across all CPF accounts (For Singaporeans and PRs only)

- Latest outstanding HDB loan balance or monthly loan instalment

- Latest yearly assessable income from IRAS Notice of Assessment

A user’s consent will last for one year from the time it is first provided, and can be revoked any time.

SECURITY SAFEGUARDS

The SGFinDex is designed to ensure data protection and privacy of personal financial information, said the joint press release.

Safeguards include how data can only be retrieved with “explicit consent of the individual” whose identity must be verified through SingPass.

SGFinDex only transmits personal financial data, and does not store any of it. It cannot be used to perform transactions.

All data transmitted is encrypted and can be read only on the financial planning applications or websites that a user has chosen to authorise to receive the data, the joint press release said.

The FAQ stated that in the event of a data breach, circumstances leading to the incident will decide who is held accountable.

For instance, a participating bank will be held responsible if it is determined to have caused the data breach.

Under the Personal Data Protection Act, an organisation that is in breach of any data protection provisions may be liable to a penalty of up to S$1 million.

If the data breach had occurred at the Ministry of Manpower’s MyMoneySense platform or at the SGFinDex infrastructure, the Government will be responsible and will perform the necessary incident containment, forensic investigations and recovery actions in line with established protocols.

Under the Public Sector (Governance) Act, public officers who recklessly or intentionally disclose data without authorisation or misuse the data for a gain may be found guilty and be subject to a penalty of S$5,000 or imprisonment of up to 2 years, or both.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU

Convenience aside, the SGFinDex will help Singaporeans in financial planning, the authorities said.

“Today, our personal financial information is fragmented across multiple entities, and we often take financial decisions, like making an investment or buying a house, without a holistic view of our financial situation,” said MAS chief Ravi Menon.

SGFinDex harnesses digital technology to enhance the financial well-being of Singaporeans, he added.

“(It) empowers the individual to consolidate his financial information for a comprehensive view of his portfolio, and use digital tools like MyMoneySense to make better financial decisions.”

READ: Commentary: Financial advisers on Tinder? Probably not the best policy

Several participating banks have already tapped on SGFinDex to offer enhanced financial planning services to their customers, such as applications that cover money management, investments, protection needs and retirement planning, said the joint press release.

For instance, Maybank has launched MView – a new service that presents its customers with a comprehensive view of their financial status, including their life insurance policies with its insurance arm Etiqa.

OCBC also has a new digital financial dashboard called OCBC Financial OneView.

Apart from allowing customers to view all of their financial data at a glance, the artificial intelligence-powered dashboard will offer tools and personalised tips to help users manage their finances, plan for retirement, grow and protect their wealth.

In OCBC's recent Financial Wellness Index, more than one-third of respondents said they did not know the best way to grow their wealth.

“SGFinDex will open up more opportunities that allow customers access to simpler and more comprehensive financial guidance towards their goals,” said head of consumer financial services in Singapore Sunny Quek.

READ: Commentary: Still paying off your housing loan at 65? Five rules to a happy retirement

Singapore’s largest lender DBS said the launch of SGFinDex is “timely” as the COVID-19 pandemic and its sudden disruption of incomes have “revealed an acute need for financial planning” among many Singaporeans.

The bank’s five million customers can now access SGFinDex through its digital advisory tool NAV Planner “to consolidate their financial data and be served personalised insights and actionable recommendations on how to grow their money”, said its Singapore country head Shee Tse Koon.

Source: CNA/sk

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