News14 Nov 2017

Singapore:MAS to speed up sandbox assessment for FinTech firms

14 Nov 2017

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will expedite its sandbox application assessment so that FinTech firms can test and launch their innovative solutions faster. MAS will also further loosen the regulatory boundaries for sandbox cases where the risks do not outweigh the potential benefits of the solution to consumers, said Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence, at the welcome dinner last year for the 2017 Singapore FinTech Festival.

Mr Ong, who is also a member of the MAS Board of Directors, said that MAS had received more than 30 applications to “play in the sandbox” since the FinTech regulatory sandbox was launched in June last year to allow firms to experiment in innovative solutions while preserving safety and soundness. Half of these applications did not require the sandbox, it was found. Many did not need any regulatory exemption and MAS told them to go ahead and launch their solutions.

Mr Ong said: “That is really encouraging and a positive reflection of our regulatory framework, because innovation thrives most when enterprising people can commence business and implement ideas easily.”

The remaining applicants are currently in the sandbox, have been approved to enter the sandbox, or are in discussions with MAS on their applications. So far, one has graduated from the sandbox.

This is the insurance broker, PolicyPal, founded by a young entrepreneur, Val Yap. She has been named one of Forbes Asia’s “30 under 30” in the finance and venture capital industry. PolicyPal helps customers manage their insurance policies digitally in one place. The customer uses his phone to snap photos of his insurance policies and uploads them onto PolicyPal’s mobile app. The app uses OCR technology to digitise and analyse the documents, and give the customer an assessment of where he has duplicate or insufficient insurance coverage. And, using the app, the customer can purchase new insurance plans and store them in the same app, easily.

But, as a startup, PolicyPal was unable to meet MAS’ criteria for licensing, including track record and financial requirements. And the OCR and applied analytics technologies were untested. PolicyPal was therefore granted the necessary exemptions to allow it to test its solution in the sandbox with a limited pool of actual and real customers. PolicyPal was successful in its sandbox experiment and is now a licensed insurance broker.

Mr Ong said: “The sandbox is as much a learning journey for the applicants as it is for MAS. As we learn more, we can do more for the industry, and do it better.”

Mr Ong also spoke on how Singapore is promoting electronic payments and how the government is equipping the people for a Smart Nation, as a national movement, so as to transform Singapore into a country where people live meaningful and fulfilled lives enabled by technology.

Around 25,000 people from the regional and global FinTech communities – spanning the financial, technology, and VC industries – are attending the five-day Festival which ends on Friday. 

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