Financial Services Update: July 16, 2018

Financial Services Update | July 16, 2018
Authors: Shay Wester, Ian Saccomanno, and Annah Bachman
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

August 20-21, 2018: Singapore Business MissionThe US-ASEAN Business Council is registering senior-level executives for its annual Business Mission to Singapore on August 20-21, 2018. Participants should plan to arrive in Singapore by Sunday afternoon, August 19. There will be an organizational meeting and briefing before the start of the mission. The mission will end by the evening of Tuesday, August 21. The deadline for receipt of registration and mission materials is COB Monday, August 6, 2018. We will hold at least two pre-mission conference calls before the start of the mission. More information on these calls will be sent out at a later date.

August 23-24, 2018: Laos Business MissionThe Council is now registering senior executives for its 2018 Business Mission to Laos. Click here to register, the deadline for registration is August 9. The Mission will focus on building upon the momentum following Secretary Ross's September visit to Laos, the first visit of a US Commerce Secretary to Laos. Mission themes will focus on supporting policy and capacity development in Laos, particularly for digital and financial services policy frameworks. The Meeting with the Minister of Planning and Investment is confirmed, and all others have been requested. Please contact Ella Duangkaew at eduangkaew@usasean.org with any questions.

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Bank of Lao Law Amendments and National Payments System Regulations

The Lao National Assembly approved amendments to the Law of the Bank of Lao PDR during their June session, restructuring the Bank’s Executive Board and altering some regulatory systems. As part of the Board’s restructuring, the amendment elevates the Governor to the Party Central Committee, making it a much more politically important position. On the regulatory side, the amendment changes procedures for the management of micro-finance institutions and protecting citizens from illegal business ventures. BoL has been looking for ways to improve its structure for some time. It is likely these amendments will also clarify mandates for implementing the Law on National Payments that was signed in March, for which BoL is currently drafting implementing regulations (law accessible at this link). Though the original Law on National Payments was broad in its mandates, reports indicate that BoL is taking a restrictive approach and may substantially limit competition. Advocacy on these regulations will feature in the Council’s upcoming Laos Business Mission, scheduled for August 23-24.

State Bank of Vietnam Announces Plan for Fintech Regulatory Sandbox

At the Vietnam Fintech Forum 2018 in Hanoi, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) noted plans for a fintech regulatory sandbox to encourage innovation and strengthen cooperation with SBV. Deputy Governor and head of the steering committee on fintech, Nguyễn Kim Anh, said SBV wanted to help fintech businesses and start-ups test new products and services while minimizing risks for clients. The Ministry of Justice also recently announced that a regulation on cryptoassets would be coming within the year and the Ministry of Science and Technology is working on related fintech regulations.

Currently, eighty fintech firms operate in Vietnam with twenty-seven institutions acting as SBV licensed payment intermediaries. However, the necessary legal and market framework developed slower than the development of products and services. Slow development coupled with a capital shortage, inadequate legal framework, and bank hesitance in co-operation led to SBV recognizing the need for the fintech sandbox. Development of fintech and co-operation with the banking sector are seen by the Governor of SBV as preconditions for improving access to financial and banking services in Vietnam. Vietnam first began testing fintech innovation in 2008 when the SBV allowed non-banks to provide e-payment services on a pilot basis. However, Vietnam took a more serious approach to fintech when the SBV established a steering committee for FinTech in March of 2016.

Earlier this year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and SBV signed a Memorandum of Understanding for joint innovation projects and to help fintech companies better understand opportunities and information in fintech development. MAS and SBV also revised an existing Memorandum to reinforce cooperation in banking supervision and crisis management. The press release from MAS can be viewed here.

AMDB and MAS Sign Fintech Cooperation Agreement

The Monetary Authority of Brunei Darussalam (AMBD) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) recently entered into a fintech cooperation agreement to foster innovation in financial services between the two countries. AMBD and MAS will share information on the developments and trends of financial technologies in their respective countries and promote joint innovation projects between Brunei and Singapore. The cooperation agreement is also expected to establish a framework for both AMBD and MAS to provide support for fintech companies to better understand the regulatory regime and opportunities in each jurisdiction. In addition, the two authorities will also work together to enhance the retail payment ecosystem between Brunei and Singapore. Click here for the official press release. Brunei has been looking to develop a fintech industry over the past few years, including by launching a fintech regulatory sandbox in 2017. This is part of Brunei’s Wawasan 2035, a nationwide plan that sets out an economic vision centered on developing a diversified, dynamic, and sustainable economy, that moves the country away from reliance on oil and gas exports.

Singapore Aims to Hasten Cashless Society

To quicken the shift from cash and checks to digital, Singapore has pledged to slash cash withdrawals from ATMs and eliminate the use of checks by 2025, according to a speech by Singapore’s Minister for Education Ong Ye Kung on June 20. Minister Ong, who sits on the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) board, said that Singapore will attempt to hasten this shift by expanding the government-endorsed PayNow digital funds transfer system to companies starting August 13. The expansion of the PayNow service will allow corporate clients of seven banks to transfer funds in Singapore. The seven banks are DBS, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp., United Overseas Bank Ltd., Standard Chartered Plc, HSBC Holdings Plc, Malayan Banking Bhd. and Citigroup Inc. With the expansion of PayNow to companies, the Government of Singapore insists that it is hoping to encourage competition among digital payment service providers to ensure a variety of payment solutions. Ultimately, by accelerating the transition to e-payments, the city-state aims to better position itself as a regional financial hub that can compete with Hong Kong and London. Singapore’s push to increase the adoption of e-payments will help accelerate an already existing trend that has seen cash withdrawals and check usage decline in popularity in the country. 80 percent of Singapore consumers have adopted e-payments, and nearly 60 percent of merchants are compliant. Minister Ong’s full speech can be found here.

 
ADVOCACY UPDATE
 
 

Update on Indonesia's GR82

On July 2, USABC President & CEO Alex Feldman met with Indonesian government officials and had the opportunity to engage on Government Regulation 82/2012 (GR82). The following updates were received:

  • BKPM Chairman Tom Lembong shared that the revision of GR82 amendment will be released in the next 1-2 months.
  • USABC suggested that the line ministries seek recommendation and approval from the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology if they seek to make a decision on categorization of strategic data for their sector.
  • Minister of Communication and Information Technology will arrange a limited cabinet meeting with Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto to discuss data categorization.
  • Minister Rudiantara has suggested that the drafting of Bank Indonesia and OJK regulations be referred to the current presidential regulation (must be aligned with the latest revision to GR82).
  • Indonesia has already signed the cross-border automatic exchange of tax information, to be implemented by all banks by 2018. Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani has additionally passed Perpu (regulation in lieu of law) to comply with the cross-border information exchange.

Materials

 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Market Development
52.8 million Filipinos have no bank account
Trade dept keeps trademark registry investment program
Banks’ fund raising to bolster lending
Number of Filipinos with bank accounts just inching up
Executive Board Concludes the 2018 Article IV Consultation with Vietnam
A snapshot of Malaysia’s financial tech scene
Singapore banks to gain from property cooling measures: Moody's
Trends: Southeast Asia to see more venture capital investments
Financial inclusion makes big inroads into Myanmar
Bank accounts and debit cards for Rohingya refugees, on the books
Fintech, Insurance Buoy Singapore
Philippines to License 25 Cryptocurrency Exchanges in Economic Zone
East Asia central banks launch securities lending
IFC launches first green bonds in Philippines

Asset Management
Trade war puts Indonesia and India at risk, S&P economist warns
Sarana Multi Infrastruktur issues green bonds and sukuk 
Indonesia Favors Rupiah Stability Above Growth in Rate Move
Indonesia stock exchange new CEO targets 25-30 new listings in 2019
How private equity is shaking up Southeast Asia
Exclusive: Philippines to Allow Asset-Backed ICOs

Banking
Indonesia to Get Bank Data of Citizens Living in US
Banks to hike service fees this month
Central bank to scrutinize foreign large bank share acquisitions 
Moody’s sees little risk of problem loans despite rising rates
'Stable' Philippine banking sector seen benefiting from high interest rates
Vietcombank to apply Basel II next month
SBV tries to extend divestment deadline for small banks
Women-led firms face challenges in accessing bank loans
Informal finance services key player in Lao banking sector
Vietnamese banks boost IT use

E-Payments
Bankers see Go-Jek as new competitor: Survey
‘Touch-to-pay’ ecosystem taking shape in Vietnam
BSP evaluating banks’ compliance with EMV technology
Non-cash payments need support
Variety of e-payment options is to allow for competition, innovation: Ong Ye Kung
Thailand leads in crypto by skipping the big debate
Most e-commerce transactions still use ‘COD’
Singapore to cut cash usage, eliminate cheques by 2025
Foreign firms enter Vietnam’s payment market, charge low fees
Filipinos’ online spending seen to reach P122 billion this year
Monetary Authority of Singapore Introduces Protections for E-payment Users

Insurance
Expats leaving Vietnam unable to get social insurance refunds | Emigrate News | Emigrate UK
IG Tech, Malaysia’s Aetins in insurance tech tie-up
The Kingdom’s insurance industry sees good start to 2018
Cambodia: Financial market growth spells more developed insurance products
Malaysia: Foreign insurers' stake reduction plans at advanced stage
Malaysia Expected to Give Foreign Insurers More Time to Cut Local Stakes: Sources

Market Regulation
Fintech regulation coming soon: OJK
Malaysia Imposes New Regulations On Grab; Launches Monopoly Investigation
Warm welcome belies challenges in insurance and tax for U Soe Win
OJK prepares regulation on equity crowdfunding
MAS seeks to require fund managers to report misconduct
Amid growth in fintech, government balances innovation with risk
Rate Policy Diverges in Southeast Asia as Currency Rout Deepens
Cyberthreat reporting rule to be issued by BSP
Vietnam jails former central bank official amid graft crackdown
Limited FX License for Securities Companies in Thailand​
SGX enters new era as it starts dual-class shares for qualifying IPOs
Philippine Stock Exchange gives green light to short selling
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Market Development

52.8 million Filipinos have no bank account — BSP survey philstar 12th Jul 2018
A total of 52.8 million Filipino adults do not have bank accounts amid the heightened efforts of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)  to promote financial inclusion. Results of the BSP’s 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey (FIS) show 60 percent of the respondents reported not having enough money as the main reason for not having bank accounts.

Trade dept keeps trademark registry investment program BusinessMirror 12th Jul 2018
The trade department has extended the “Juana Make a Mark” program that allows micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) to apply for trademark at a reduced cost. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) on Tuesday signed an agreement extending the Trademark Registration Incentive Program, initiated last year. The program is aimed at servicing 1,000 MSMEs that want to protect their trademarks.

Banks’ fund raising to bolster lending Business World 11th Jul 2018
ACTIVE fund-raising initiatives taken by Philippine banks should help sustain robust lending in the country, especially amid strong demand for infrastructure financing, a global credit rater said. “What we are seeing over the last 12 months… I think all these initiatives are to prepare for future growth. I think the good thing is banks are actively thinking about what they need to prepare themselves,” Moody’s senior analyst Simon Chen said in a recent interview.

Number of Filipinos with bank accounts just inching up BusinessMirror 11th Jul 2018
DESPITE the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’s (BSP) efforts to raise the level of financial inclusion in the country, Filipino financial consumers apparently remain leery of putting their hard-earned cash in the vaults of banks with the number of account holders growing by less than 1 percent between 2015 and 2017, latest data from the Central Bank showed. In its latest report on its 2017 financial inclusion survey, the BSP found out that the number of Filipino adults with a formal account is estimated at 15.8 million at the end of 2017.

Executive Board Concludes the 2018 Article IV Consultation with Vietnam IMF 10th Jul 2018
Financial sector balance sheets, supervision and risk management need to be further strengthened. A stronger financial sector can help improve the efficiency of financial intermediation to service the domestic economy and investment. Strong credit and asset price growth may be contributing to the build-up of risks in the financial system. SOCBs should be capitalized swiftly with government funds, and by raising private sector and foreign ownership limits. It is critical to develop a macroprudential framework and improve data quality on credit aggregates and balance sheet exposures to monitor and proactively manage risks, and ensure that sufficiently robust liquidity and crisis management frameworks are in place to provide legal and operational clarity regarding early intervention and communication to mitigate emerging financial sector risks. 

A snapshot of Malaysia’s financial tech scene KrASIA 9th Jul 2018
It has been a tumultuous last few years for Malaysia, a Southeast Asian developing nation with a population of over 30 million people. Ridden with an international graft scandal, the country’s people recently elected 92-year-old former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as its leader in an unexpected win, promising many key reforms.

Singapore banks to gain from property cooling measures: Moody's The Business Times 9th Jul 2018
SINGAPORE banks are expected to benefit from property cooling measures which kicked in on July 6, which will reduce speculative demand for residential properties and increase banks' buffers "if and when property prices fall significantly", ratings agency Moody's said on Monday. The measures, which include higher additional buyer's stamp duty rates and tighter loan-to-value (LTV) limits, reduce the risk of a property price bubble, future price shocks and losses from mortgage loans, which is credit positive for Singapore’s banks, it added.

Trends: Southeast Asia to see more venture capital investments The Edge Markets 7th Jul 2018
Over the next few years, Southeast Asia is expected to see more foreign players buying into home-grown start-ups in this part of the world. The arrival of international venture capital and private equity giants in recent years suggests that this will be the next growth area for many of the established alternative financiers. Malaysian corporates and high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) can also play a role in helping local start-ups get to the next level. ST Chua, principal of newly formed venture capital firm Sun SEA Capital, believes that it is time for this group to help plug the long-standing Series B (US$1 million to US$3 million) funding gap. He chalks this up to a lack of support, both in terms of the number of financiers in the country as well as the initiatives available.

Financial inclusion makes big inroads into Myanmar The Myanmar Times 6th Jul 2018
MAP operates through a partnership between the UK-funded DaNa Facility, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Myanmar, and the Ministry of Planning and Finance’s Financial Regulatory Department (FRD). The financial diagnostic provides a composite profile of the access to and use of financial services nationwide, based on a comprehensive survey of 5,500 rural and urban households.

Bank accounts and debit cards for Rohingya refugees, on the books Dhaka Tribune 5th Jul 2018
Photo identity documents issued by the government, and United Nations organizations, will be accepted for Know Your Client (KYC) purposes Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune TheWorld Food Programme (WFP) is working with Rohingya refugees to open bank accounts, through which the Rohingya can receive financial support from the government and global donors. The Rohingya refugees will be given a prepaid debit card, or a mobile wallet, with which they can pay for their daily needs. 

Fintech, Insurance Buoy Singapore finews.asia 4th Jul 2018
The fintech sector has fueled nearly one-quarter of new jobs in Singapore's financial sector in the last two years. The life insurance industry saw double-digit growth in the same period. Singapore saw a net increase of 7,800 jobs in financial services and fintech over 2016 and 2017, according to a speech by Ravi Menon, head of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, or MAS.

Philippines to License 25 Cryptocurrency Exchanges in Economic Zone CryptoSlate 4th Jul 2018
On June 27th, 2018, the Philippine government announced they will license up to 25 cryptocurrency exchanges for operation in a special economic zone. In their statement, the administrative body of Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) announced the initial authorization for each of the 25 exchanges to employ up to 30 traders or brokers.

East Asia central banks launch securities lending philstar.com 29th Jun 2018
Central banks in East Asia and the Pacific including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) launched a securities lending facility to promote efficient financial intermediation in the region. The Executives’ Meeting of East Asia-Pacific Central Banks (EMEAP) has announced the launch of securities lending in the Asian Bond Fund (ABF) Pan-Asia Bond Index Fund (PAIF). Starting July 10, selected local currency-denominated bonds held within PAIF would be made available for lending in the regional securities lending markets.

IFC launches first green bonds in Philippines philstar.com 26th Jun 2018
International Finance Corp. (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank Group for the private sector, has launched the Mabuhay Bond – the first peso-denominated green bond in the Philippines – to bankroll the optimization program of Lopez-led Energy Development Corp. (EDC). In a statement, IFC said it issued yesterday the first internationally rated triple-A peso-denominated green bond amounting to about $90 million with a 15-year maturity to support the local capital market and renewable energy. The Mabuhay Bond sets a precedent as the first green bond denominated in Philippine peso to be issued by a multilateral development institution.

Asset Management

Trade war puts Indonesia and India at risk, S&P economist warns Nikkei Asian Review 10th Jul 2018
Escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China are raising economic uncertainty in Asia and sending ripples through financial markets in Indonesia and India, Paul Gruenwald, global chief economist for S&P Global Ratings said in an interview. Investors have been shifting from emerging markets because of better interest rates in the U.S., and the ongoing economic uncertainty will further fuel this shift, he said.

Sarana Multi Infrastruktur issues green bonds and sukuk  The Jakarta Post 10th Jul 2018
State-owned infrastructure financing company PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMI) issued on Tuesday green bonds and sukuk, under a shelf registration issuance scheme worth Rp 3 trillion (US$209 million) each.

Indonesia Favors Rupiah Stability Above Growth in Rate Move Bloomberg 1st Jul 2018
Indonesia’s central bank is showing its willingness to sacrifice economic growth for currency stability in its latest aggressive move on interest rates. Bank Indonesia surprised economists with a bigger-than-forecast 50 basis-point hike on Friday, on top of two rate increases in May aimed at halting a currency rout. That takes the benchmark rate to 5.25 percent, with analysts betting there’s more tightening to come.

Indonesia stock exchange new CEO targets 25-30 new listings in 2019 DealStreetAsia 29th Jun 2018
The Indonesia’s stock exchange (IDX) said on Friday they were targeting 25-30 new company listings by 2019 and would aim to increase market cap by 15-20 percent each year. Inarno Djayadi, who was confirmed as CEO at an IDX shareholders’ meeting on Friday, told a press conference he wanted the exchange to reach 40 new company listings by 2020.

How private equity is shaking up Southeast Asia Nikkei Asian Review 27th Jun 2018
Vietnam is still a communist country, but it is fast becoming one of the world's hottest markets for companies that are synonymous with aggressive capitalism: private equity firms. The appeal for Western private equity firms -- known for their appetite for risk and debt-fueled buyouts -- is clear. Vietnam's economy is growing fast, its stock market has been performing well and the government has rolled out plans to privatize many state-owned enterprises. These are ideal conditions for private equity giants such as Warburg Pincus, KKR and TPG, which have been pumping money into Vietnam as opportunities shrink at home.

Exclusive: Philippines to Allow Asset-Backed ICOs investing.com 27th Jun 2018
A Philippine special economic zone on its northernmost tip will allow initial coin offerings for blockchain projects, but they have to be backed with tangible assets to prevent fraud. This was disclosed by Secretary Raul Lambino administrator and chief executive officer Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) on the sidelines of the Global Blockchain Summit held in Pasay City over the weekend.

Banking

Indonesia to Get Bank Data of Citizens Living in US Jakarta Globe 14th Jul 2018
Negotiations between Indonesia and the United States to exchange financial information are going smoothly and should be complete this year, an official told the Jakarta Globe on Friday (13/11). The agreement will let the Directorate General of Taxation access data on US bank accounts owned by Indonesian citizens. "The US is currently examining the document in the Indonesian language ... ensuring it fits what we have previously agreed on," said Hestu Yoga Saksama, spokesman at the directorate.

Banks to hike service fees this month Viet Nam News 11th Jul 2018
After two months postponing the increase in service fees for ATM cash withdrawals as required by the central bank, some commercial banks have now resumed the plan, announcing that a new service fee framework will apply from the middle of this month. Three big banks Vietinbank, Vietcombank and BIDV will officially increase service fees for ATM cash withdrawals from VNĐ1,100 to VNĐ1,650 for each transaction in their system from July 15.

Central bank to scrutinize foreign large bank share acquisitions | Eleven Myanmar Eleven Myanmar 11th Jul 2018
The Central Bank of Myanmar will scrutinize the acquisition of a 35-per-cent stake by foreign banks in local banks, said Aung Naing Oo, Director-General of Directorate of Investment and Company Administration. “No need to issue the notification as it is a law. According to the Myanmar Companies Act, foreign investors are allowed to acquire stakes of up to 35 per cent in local firms.

Moody’s sees little risk of problem loans despite rising rates Business World 29th Jun 2018
There should be little risk of problem loans even as interest rates rise further, a global credit rater said, noting that policy adjustments can be expected to temper credit growth. Simon Chen, senior analyst at Moody’s Investors Service, said Philippine banks will continue to thrive in the wake of back-to-back policy rate increases from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and rising global yields.

'Stable' Philippine banking sector seen benefiting from high interest rates philstar.com 28th Jun 2018
The Philippine banking sector is expected to remain on strong footing and could benefit from rising interest rates, global debt watcher Moody’s Investors Service said Thursday. “We continue to have a stable outlook on the Philippine banking system. I think what driving the stable outlook is that macro conditions continue to be robust,” Moody’s Vice President — Senior Analyst Simon Chen said in a media roundtable. Chen said Moody’s expects a loan growth of “between mid to high single digit” which is “quite a good number” for the Philippines. Banks’ revenue growth prospects will continue to be strong this year, he added. “I think what has changed from last year is that loan growth continues to be strong. Secondly, we do think the banks will benefit from rising interest rates environment,” Chen said. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas this month lifted benchmark rates anew to fight inflation and lend some strength to the weakening peso. Key rates now stand at 4 percent for the overnight lending rate, 3.5 percent for the overnight reverse repurchase rate and 3 percent for the overnight deposit rate.

Vietcombank to apply Basel II next month vietnamnews.vn 27th Jun 2018
Vietcombank will become the first major State-owned bank to apply Basel II standards, two years earlier than the deadline set by the central bank. According to the bank, it is finalising the final steps to apply for the international standards thoroughly next month.

SBV tries to extend divestment deadline for small banks vietnamnews.vn 25th Jun 2018
The State Bank of Việt Nam has sought the Government’s permission to allow credit institutions more time to sell their stakes in other lenders since many smaller ones are struggling to do so. Through a circular in 2015 it had set a February 2016 deadline for lenders to bring their ownership thresholds within the limits prescribed by the Law on Credit Institutions.

Women-led firms face challenges in accessing bank loans vietnamnews.vn 25th Jun 2018
According to a recent report of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Việt Nam has nearly 96,000 women-owned businesses, making up some 21 per cent of all registered businesses. A majority of these enterprises are of micro scale - 42 per cent are small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and only one per cent (or more than 850 enterprises) are of a large size. IFC said the gap between the capital demand of SMEs owned by women and what banks offered was estimated at VNĐ27 trillion (more than US$1 billion).

Informal finance services key player in Lao banking sector Xinhua 25th Jun 2018
VIENTIANE, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Informal finance services continue to be a key player in the Lao banking sector despite the rapid growth of legal micro-finance institutes across the country, local daily Vientiane Times on Wednesday quoted a World Bank report as saying. The international financial institute's mid-year economic monitoring report for the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), released last week, highlighted the overall economic development in the landlocked country. The expansion of the Lao banking sector was discussed in the latest update.

Vietnamese banks boost IT use VOV 23rd Jun 2018
Vietnam has big potential in applying 4.0 technology to develop retail banks and payment utilities. The Industry 4.0 trend involves a wave of digitalisation, changing the business models and activities of many banks. Nguyen Dinh Tung, General Director of Orient Commercial Bank (OCB), said the participation of digital banks would be helpful for domestic and international enterprises when doing business and investing in Vietnam.

E-Payments

Bankers see Go-Jek as new competitor: Survey The Jakarta Post 12th Jul 2018
Most Indonesian bankers see Go-Jek as an “emerging competitor” to conventional banks in the payment sector, according to a survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Indonesia.

‘Touch-to-pay’ ecosystem taking shape in Vietnam VietNamNet 11th Jul 2018
Vietnam is striving to reduce the non-cash payment proportion to less than 10 percent by 2020. The non-cash economy is nearing Vietnam thanks to many factors, including the bustling e-commerce and retail market, and the explosive number of internet and mobile users.

BSP evaluating banks’ compliance with EMV technology philstar 9th Jul 2018
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has started assessing the full compliance of banks with the mandated shift to the Europay, Mastercard, Visa (EMV) technology after the June 30 deadline. BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said the central bank would sanction banks that failed to fully comply with the transition to the EMV technology as the June 30 deadline was not extended.

Non-cash payments need support vietnamnews.vn 7th Jul 2018
The Government should create an ecosystem and suitable environment for new products and services as well as pioneer their use to promote the development of contactless payment methods. This could be a foundation for building e-government in Việt Nam.

Variety of e-payment options is to allow for competition, innovation: Ong Ye Kung TODAYonline 2nd Jul 2018
While he acknowledged that Singapore's e-payment landscape is confusing due to the plethora of options, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the Government has "deliberately taken a different approach so as to allow more competition and innovation in the payments space". Speaking at the Association of Banks' annual dinner on Wednesday (June 20), he acknowledged that having one or two players dominate the market brings "short-term convenience to consumers", but there will be "significant downside risk in the long term" due to a lack of competition in Singapore.

Thailand leads in crypto by skipping the big debate Bangkok Post 1st Jul 2018
Securities, or not securities. That is the crypto question. Except in Thailand. While regulators around the world have grappled with the issue of what category digital currencies and assets fall into, Thailand has skipped the debate altogether.

Most e-commerce transactions still use ‘COD’ BusinessMirror 28th Jun 2018
THE majority or 80 percent of e-commerce transactions in the Philippines are still cash-on-delivery transactions, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Unescap). This despite the high Internet penetration rate in the Philippines. The report, titled “Embracing the E-commerce Revolution in Asia and the Pacific,” said there are 56.75 million Filipinos who have access to the Internet. The report said this can be due to the lack of available e-payment options that force Filipinos to resort to cash on delivery, placing consumers at risk.

Singapore to cut cash usage, eliminate cheques by 2025 BusinessDay : News you can trust 28th Jun 2018
Singapore is stepping up push towards digital payment with the reduction of cash withdrawals from automated teller machines (ATMs) and elimination of cheques by 2025. According to the country’s education minister, Ong Ye Kung, who is also a board member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, explained at the 45th annual dinner of the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), that the goal is to protect consumers from e-payment risks.

Foreign firms enter Vietnam’s payment market, charge low fees VietNamNet 27th Jun 2018
While Vietnamese banks are trying to collect fee from clients, e-wallet service providers are not charging fees, or collecting low fees to lure more users, analysts say. They noted that many of the world’s big players have joined the Vietnamese payment market. Standard Chartered Private Equity and Goldman Sachs have poured $28 million into MoMo. Ninety percent of 1Pay stake has fallen into the hands of TrueMoney from Thailand. Alipay from China in late 2017 signed a strategic cooperation agreement with NAPAS (the National Payment Corporation of Vietnam), preparing to provide e-payment services to Chinese travelers to Vietnam.

Filipinos’ online spending seen to reach P122 billion this year — PayPal report Business World 27th Jun 2018
More Filipinos expect to increase their online spending in the next two years, a study by PayPal Holdings, Inc. and Ipsos said. In a survey conducted by the company with firm Ipsos, PayPal Cross-Border Consumer Research 2018, the results showed that the total online spend of Filipino shoppers is predicted to increase by 32% from about P92.5 billion in 2017 to P121.9 billion this year. “Out of the survey respondents, 55% of those who are shopping online expect their online spending to increase,” PayPal strategic director for Southeast Asia Abhinav Kumar told reporters on June 27. PayPal also said that Filipinos are estimated to spend around P185.16 billion in online shopping by 2020. Top reasons cited by Filipinos for increase in online spending are convenience, variety of platforms, and expectation of faster shipping.

Monetary Authority of Singapore Introduces Protections for E-payment Users Baker McKenzie 26th Jun 2018
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has proposed new E-payments User Protection Guidelines (Guidelines) to encourage the wider adoption of electronic payments (e-payments) by individuals or micro-businesses by enhancing consumer or account user protection.

Insurance

Expats leaving Vietnam unable to get social insurance refunds | Emigrate News | Emigrate UK Emigrate 16th Jul 2018
Compulsory social insurance payments for expats working in Vietnam are causing problems for local firms. Vietnam is becoming an interesting destination for expat professionals as its economy strengthens and draws in overseas investment. According to a report published by the Investment and Trade Working Group attached to the Vietnam Business Forum, compulsory social insurance for expats is yet another tax in an already high-taxed environment and is likely to affect the numbers of skilled expat professionals the country needs to continue its development.

IG Tech, Malaysia’s Aetins in insurance tech tie-up Khmer Times 12th Jul 2018
IG Tech, Malaysia’s Aetins in insurance tech tie-up Locally-owned IG Tech inked a deal with Malaysia-based Aetins to offer technology-enabled solutions targeting insurance companies and takaful operators. With this new partnership, IG Tech becomes the sole distributor of Aetins’ insurance solutions in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Kingdom’s insurance industry sees good start to 2018 Phnom Penh Post 10th Jul 2018
The insurance industry in Cambodia reported a nearly 30 percent increase in total gross premium in the first quarter of this year over the same period in 2017. Gross premium grew from $36.2 million to $46.8 million. This was driven by a 14.5 percent increase from general insurance and a 50.5 percent growth from life insurance.

Cambodia: Financial market growth spells more developed insurance products Asia Insurance Review 3rd Jul 2018
International life insurer AIA has noticed that the financial market in Cambodia is growing fast, with the introduction of a bond and an equity market, so it will also focus on this area in the near future, Mr Richard Bates, CEO of AIA Cambodia, told Khmer Times in an interview. “As we have seen in other countries, when developments happen at such a fast pace, we can develop insurance products for more sophisticated sectors, with risk protection at the centre of our offer, but with high returns,” he said.

Malaysia: Foreign insurers' stake reduction plans at advanced stage Asia Insurance Review 29th Jun 2018
Malaysia's central bank said yesterday that foreign insurers' plans to divest stakes to comply with a local rule on ownership are at advanced stages, reports Reuters. In an emailed statement to Reuters just two days before the divestment deadline, Bank Negara said Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, set to take over as governor on 1 July, will be briefed on the plans.

Malaysia Expected to Give Foreign Insurers More Time to Cut Local Stakes: Sources Insurance Journal 28th Jun 2018
Malaysia’s central bank is considering granting extensions to some foreign insurers to give them more time to trim stakes in their local ventures, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Market Regulation

Fintech regulation coming soon: OJK The Jakarta Post 16th Jul 2018
The Financial Services Authority (OJK) is about to issue a new set of rules on financial technology (fintech), as more and more startups arise in the industry.

Malaysia Imposes New Regulations On Grab; Launches Monopoly Investigation Lowyat.NET 12th Jul 2018
The transport ministry has begun a study on the impact of the Grab-Uber merger. Additionally, the new e-hailing regulations set out by SPAD and approved by the previous administration are being put into place today.

Warm welcome belies challenges in insurance and tax for U Soe Win The Myanmar Times 11th Jul 2018
In his new role taking charge of the planning and finance ministry, 80-year-old U Soe Win will be closely watched by investors and enjoy broad powers in regulating the economy, not least because the minister supervises the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (DICA). His ministry carries the bulk of the responsibilities in implementing the National League for Democracy-led government’s 12-point economic plan, which aims to support competition and a robust private sector based on a market-oriented system by cutting down unnecessary red tape and expanding access to credit. 

OJK prepares regulation on equity crowdfunding The Jakarta Post 9th Jul 2018
The Financial Services Authority (OJK) is working on new rules for equity crowdfunding, where a large number of people invest in unlisted companies, usually through internet platforms.

MAS seeks to require fund managers to report misconduct Singapore Business Review 9th Jul 2018
It also proposed amendments to how financial institutions should report misconduct. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) opened feedback for a set of amendments that it wants to make on misconduct reporting requirements, as set out in notices issued under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA), Financial Advisers Act (FAA), and Insurance Act (IA). MAS proposed to apply the misconduct reporting requirements to registered fund management companies (RFMC). The notices are currently applicable to the following financial institutions (FI): capital markets services, licensed financial advisers, registered insurance brokers, and exempt FIs with insurance broking activities. The central bank proposed to make acts involving illegal/improper monetary gains, which may lead to erosion of trust in the financial system, such as money laundering as a form of misconduct, accounted for as misconduct.

Amid growth in fintech, government balances innovation with risk The Jakarta Post 5th Jul 2018
The government is currently seeking to bolster security for financial technology (fintech) customers without disrupting the development of fintech businesses and innovation.

Rate Policy Diverges in Southeast Asia as Currency Rout Deepens Bloomberg 4th Jul 2018
Southeast Asia’s central bankers are taking diverging policy stances even as their economies get slammed by the same headwinds. Dollar strength, higher oil prices, and global monetary policy tightening are adding pressure on key emerging markets to protect their currencies and curb outflows. Amid all that volatility, central banks still have their inflation targets to consider. While the pickup in crude costs has seen policy makers across Southeast Asia add fuel subsidies to their inflation-fighting toolbox, their interest-rate policy is much less uniform.

Cyberthreat reporting rule to be issued by BSP The Manila Times Online 4th Jul 2018
Cyberthreats encountered by banks will have to be quickly reported under soon-to-be-issued rules aimed at strengthening the industry, a senior Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) official said on Tuesday. Central bank Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier said the BSP was looking to implement a 24-hour prescriptive period for cyberthreat reporting by supervised financial institutions.

Vietnam jails former central bank official amid graft crackdown Reuters 2nd Jul 2018
A court in Vietnam on Monday jailed a former deputy governor of the central bank for three years, his lawyer said, the most senior banking official put on trial in the Southeast Asian nation amid a crackdown on corruption. Vietnam’s banking system was rocked in the early 2010s by a string of mismanagement scandals and under-regulated lending, and is still reeling from nonperforming loans.

Limited FX License for Securities Companies in Thailand​ Lexology 30th Jun 2018
Securities companies have been prohibited from buying, selling, or exchanging foreign currency directly with its clients as they were not permitted to hold foreign exchange licenses. This is despite the fact that securities companies can act as investment agents for Thai clients for making investment in foreign currency-denominated securities and derivatives ("FCY Products").

SGX enters new era as it starts dual-class shares for qualifying IPOs The Business Times 27th Jun 2018
Singapore Exchange (SGX) on Tuesday approved the biggest change to its listing rules, giving the go-ahead for companies with dual-class shares (DCS) structures to seek a primary listing on its main board with immediate effect. With the rules and safeguards in place, new-economy stocks - such as those of start-ups and technology firms - which have shares with different voting rights will now be allowed to raise funds through an initial public listing (IPO) in Singapore.

Philippine Stock Exchange gives green light to short selling Securities Lending Times 25th Jun 2018
The Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) has secured the approval of the local Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to introduce short selling in the stock market. PSE president and CEO Ramon Monzon, said: "We are grateful to the SEC for approving the guidelines for short selling. We are optimistic that this facility will lend support to our securities borrowing and lending programme and help improve liquidity in our market."