Southeast Asia, with a high percentage of its population still underbanked but with growing economies and widespread smartphone adoption, is prime territory for fintech upstarts as well as pioneering incumbent banks. The race is on, and many players have jumped in, with ASEAN governments promoting the contest, which is pushing the limits of financial services to new boundaries. The ultimate winners, of course, will be the commercial and retail customers.
Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
New sanctions are continually being imposed, making life difficult for banks, which must comply or face stiff penalties. In the past, much of the work toward sanctions compliance involved burdensome manual tasks, but today, technology can lift off much of the load. Since compliance is not an option and pleading ignorance doesn’t work, banks are turning to tools such as intelligent process automation to do the job better and quicker.
“Trade Based Money Laundering (TBML) is an important component of the underlying system that supports all transnational crime. It’s far more complex than any other type of financial investigation and requires a lot more co-operation across agencies and across national jurisdictions,” says Mark Giuffre, former special agent for the American Drug Enforcement Administration.
Singapore has much to celebrate. Along with Hong Kong, it is regarded as one of Southeast Asia’s top financial hubs. Although these rivals match each other on many fronts, their stock exchanges do not. Singapore’s SGX is shrinking, while Hong Kong’s stock exchange continues to grow. It’s easy to see that the SGX is ailing but much harder to figure out exactly why—and how to reverse the trend.