MAS to beef up cybersecurity and foster innovation

Solving cybersecurity issues is necessary in order for innovation to blossom

MAS to beef up cybersecurity and foster innovation

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is looking to improve the city-state’s cybersecurity environment, while loosening the restrictions on its financial technology sandbox to foster innovation, according to its chief.

MAS managing director Ravi Menon said that cybersecurity problems are holding back the development of technology and these need to be solved before innovation can boom.

“The use of technology is not going to take off if we have not successfully addressed the cybersecurity problem, and assured ourselves and Singaporeans that cyber risks are reasonably well mitigated,” Menon told The Business Times.

“MAS has been raising the level of expected standards for cyber risk-management. We want to do some things through regulation, in terms of setting requirements for cyber.”

He also added that due to Singapore’s focus on digital innovation, around 20 global insurers and banks have established their innovation labs in the country. Amid the innovation buzz, MAS is taking on the role as a regulator of start-ups.

According to Menon, the application process for Singapore’s fintech sandbox – which allows firms to test innovative business ideas in a safe environment – has been taking too much time.

“We have quite a few in the pipeline. We are taking a while longer to evaluate them. One would have hoped we could have approved sandbox applications in weeks rather than months. But, we are learning ourselves - we’re in the sandbox, too,” Menon said.

“We are working out reduced requirements, looking at what are the requirements we can lift.”

There are currently 30 applications pending for the sandbox, with over 80% coming from fintech start-ups in various financial services areas such as insurance, remittance, and financial advisory.

Insurtech firm PolicyPal was the first firm to graduate from the sandbox, while fund management start-up Kristal Advisors is expected to stay there until 2018.

Related stories:
Insurtech start-up PolicyPal is first graduate of MAS regulatory sandbox
MAS grant boosts Singapore’s bid for insurance superiority
Cyberattack could cause next big financial crisis, says MAS head

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