Financial Services Update: August 2, 2018

Financial Services | August 2, 2018
Authors: Shay Wester, Ian Saccomanno, and Annah Bachman
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

August 3: Planning Call for the Singapore International Cyber Week (SICW) U.S. Private Sector Dialogue Event with ASEAN Ministers

August 15: 2nd Meeting of the Singapore Joint Cyber Security Working Group (Singapore)

August 20-21: 2018 Singapore Business Mission

August 23-24: 2018 Laos Business Mission

August 26-September 2: 50th ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting'

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

Bank Negara Malaysia Sees Significant Reorganization

On July 15, the new leadership of BNM unveiled a reorganization of the central bank. Although some reorganization is typical of new bank governors, these changes are particularly substantial. Governor Nor Shamsiah has taken more direct power over the Bank's core economic functions and appears to be positioning herself for a more active managerial role. Additionally, regulatory roles have been separated into their own section within BNM and the criminal enforcement offices have been elevated in stature. The new organizational structure can be viewed here and the previous structure can be viewed here. A summary of the key changes are below:

  • The position of Chief of Staff, a role created by Governor Muhammad bin Ibrahim in 2016, has been eliminated. The chief of staff was responsible for the governor's office, strategic communications, and strategic management departments. The elimination of this role is meant to ensure direct and unfiltered reporting to the new Governor.
  • Monetary Stability, under Assistant Governor Marzunisham bin Omar, and Financial Markets & Currency, under Assistant Governor Norzilla bte Abdul Ariz, are both no longer overseen by a Deputy Governor. Both Assistant Governors departments now report directly to the Governor. Monetary Stability oversees macroeconomic issues and monetary policy, while Financial Markets & Currency manages financial system liquidity, market operations, and foreign exchange.
  • The departments of Regulation and Financial Development, previously under Deputy Governor Jessica Chew Cheng Lian have been separated from each other. Deputy Governor Chew now oversees all Financial Stability and Regulation functions. This includes offices that handle financial institution supervision, market surveillance, and prudential policy. The Financial Development offices have been moved to Deputy Governor Abdul Rashed bin Abdul Ghaffour's remit. In addition to development policy, he will also handle the bank’s internal management and criminal enforcement functions.
  • The Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department (FIED), which used to be under an Assistant Governor, has been bolstered to higher priority and will now report directly to Deputy Governor Abdul Rashed. FIED is led by Abdul Rahman bin Abu Bakar, and handles investigations into financial mismanagement, terrorism financing, and money laundering. This change is an apparent effort to strengthen BNM’s ability to counter financial crime. Within FIED, and in conjunction with the Anti-Money Laundering & Counter Financing of Terrorism department (AML/CFT), a Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) has been established to analyze financial intelligence relating to money laundering and terrorism financing. 
  • The Payment Systems Policy Department has been split into a Payment Development office within the Financial Development and Innovation Department under Deputy Governor Abdul Rashed and a Payments Oversight Office under Deputy Governor Chew.
  • A Cyber Security office has been established under the IT Services office, run by Nazrul Hisyam bin Mohd Noh, which is housed in a new IT and Finance Department. IT Services was previously in the Human Capital Department.

Governor Nor Shamsiah has kept a low public profile since assuming office and avoided public speeches. In addition to the internal restructuring and building her team, she has been focused on monetary policy issues and working with the rest of the government to address 1MDB-related investigations.

State Bank of Vietnam Proposes New Decree on Cashless Payments

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) circulated a proposal for a new Draft Decree on cashless payments in early July which would further limit the ability of foreign companies to compete in the Vietnamese market if implemented as drafted. The Decree would replace Decree 101/2012/ND-CP on Non-Cash Payment. The proposal is found in both the Outline of Regulations on Non-Cash Payment and a Draft Proposal Letter. The Letter gives substantial insight into where the regulations may be going, although the language in the Outline itself remains broad.

  • The decree would restate the need for licensing of payments activities and may expand the range of activities that need to be covered. This includes requiring licenses for more supporting companies that provide technical services to already licensed financial institutions.
  • It also proposes a foreign equity cap on intermediary payment service providers, potentially at 30 percent.
  • Although not explicit, the proposal seems to imply SBV would like to mandate that international service transactions paid by international cards and e-wallets be routed through NAPAS, an unprecedented and technically difficult action.

Additionally, the proposals cite the controversial Indonesian National Payment Gateway as a model for these proposals. While regulatory supervision is necessary, ASEAN is experiencing a growing trend of overly restrictive payment regulations that are threatening to hamper competition and innovation. The Council continues to encourage governments to take a risk-based approach to regulation and promote competition, openness, and interoperability. SBV is gathering comments on the proposal until August 3. Please contact Vu Tu Thanh at tvu@usasean.org for more information.

 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Market Development
ASEAN leaders to attend pre-meeting to IMF-WB conference
Singapore banks step up pace of cutting, reskilling tellers
Indonesia c.bank to launch new overnight benchmark next week
Philippine banks explore blockchain for payment and remittance services
Thailand can benefit more from fintech
OJK to launch fintech center in August

Asset Management
After sprinting to aid rupiah, Indonesia c.bank could struggle in a marathon
Entire board of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah resigns, leaves leadership decision to PM Mahathir
Asia is hunting ground as bond funds see bargains in EM rout
Singapore banks turn to China's wealthy to offset slumping stock markets
Asian Asset Management Firm to Launch Crypto Custody for Family Offices
Lao central bank faces challenges in stabilizing exchange rate
SEC licenses wealth advisers
Laos' tiny bourse still struggles after all these years
Indonesia bucks emerging markets trend as buyers pile into bonds

Banking
Singapore Data Breach Could Damage Banks’ Health
Indonesian central bank aims to revive country's sluggish property market
Poor people lack access to mobile banking
MAS tells financial institutions to tighten customer verification processes
Lending interest rate in inter-bank market hits six-month high
Banks tighten lending standards amid rising credit growth
Banks required to control lending
Foreign banks enlarge operations in Việt Nam
Banking on co-ops to boost economy
Malaysian central bank reshuffles senior staff
Indonesia to Get Bank Data of Citizens Living in US

E-Payments
BoT: E-payment climb hastening
In Thailand E-pay is the Way
BSP backs creation of payments law
More Filipinos going cashless
Central bank links up for Thai pay system
Singaporeans ditch bank visits to go mobile
Indonesia's top telecom opens up e-wallet to rivals' customers
Regulation of interchange fee rates
Philippines' cryptocurrency to be introduced by July-end
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to implement digital finance ecosystem to address Filipino issues on financial inclusion
Thailand Is Planning a 'Bond Coin' for Faster Securities Settlement
Thailand eyes adopting blockchain tech in financial sector

Insurance
Indonesia postpones domestic insurance requirement for thermal coal exporters to Feb 2019 
Duterte urges 'speedy passage' of universal health care bill
Bảo Việt tops Việt Nam insurance market
Singapore to introduce protected cells for collateralised reinsurance
Expats leaving Vietnam unable to get social insurance refunds

Market Regulation
Singapore to bolster threat intelligence sharing in financial sector
Bank reserve requirement steady for now
Securities watchdog tightens cryprocurrency management
Vietnam’s Securities Watchdog Bans Industry from Cryptocurrency Activity: Report
Regional security firms to start business next year
Myanmar govt asked to urgently address forex instability 
Protecting financial service sector from security threats gets boost from public-private partnership
Forthcoming fintech panel to guide sector
The Financial Service Authority of Indonesia to Release New Set of Rules for Fintech
New Bankruptcy Regulations in Vietnam
Central bank steps in to slow baht slide
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Market Development

ASEAN leaders to attend pre-meeting to IMF-WB conference The Jakarta Post 27th Jul 2018
Representatives of all of the 10 ASEAN countries are scheduled to join a high-level ASEAN gathering ahead of the upcoming International Monetary Fund (IMF)-World Bank (WB) annual meeting in Bali this October. "We are planning to hold a high-level ASEAN leaders' gathering on Oct. 11," taskforce chief and executive chairman for the IMF-WB annual meeting Peter Jacobs was quoted as saying by Antara.

Singapore banks step up pace of cutting, reskilling tellers The Business Times 24th Jul 2018
Singapore banks' plans to retrain their frontline staff are gathering pace, with OCBC being the latest to put out fresh targets in reskilling over 300 of its bank tellers here. The bank said on Monday it would cut half of its bank teller jobs in two years. All the tellers at the 51 local branches of Singapore's second-largest bank will be retrained over the next five years to take on digital or advisory roles.

Indonesia c.bank to launch new overnight benchmark next week Reuters 24th Jul 2018
Indonesia’s central bank will launch a new benchmark for overnight interbank money market next week, called “Indonia”, which will eventually replace the existing Jakarta Interbank Offered Rate (JIBOR), a senior bank said on Tuesday. The Indonia rate would be set at 7pm local time everyday based on rates traded in the interbank overnight lending market from 8am to 6pm during the day.

Philippine banks explore blockchain for payment and remittance services Singapore Business Review 18th Jul 2018
The central bank approved a pilot project creating a real-time remittance corridor. The Philippine banking system is exploring the use of blockchain technology in an effort to speed up payment and remittance services. The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas approved a pilot project that aims to create a real-time remittance corridor without the need for a central operator as the regulator attempts to leverage distributed ledger technologies (DLT) for traditional banking and wire transfers through partnerships with banks and DLT providers.

Thailand can benefit more from fintech Central Banking 16th Jul 2018
The Bank of Thailand is encouraging the financial sector to embrace technology in pursuit of higher productivity, greater resilience and more inclusivity, governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said on July 12. In his remarks, the governor highlighted the potential of blockchain technology for facilitating regional payments, which he said could boost productivity. The Bank of Thailand is operating a regulatory sandbox, with a cross-border blockchain system as one of several technologies on trial. Othe

OJK to launch fintech center in August The Jakarta Post 16th Jul 2018
The Financial Services Authority (OJK) has announced that it will be launching a financial technology (fintech) center in Jakarta next month to support the digital business's innovation and development in the country.

Asset Management

After sprinting to aid rupiah, Indonesia c.bank could struggle in a marathon Reuters 27th Jul 2018
Bank Indonesia has done more than any Asian peer to defend its currency amid a global rout in emerging markets, but the fact that the rupiah has kept slipping suggests the central bank would struggle to maintain the pace in a prolonged battle.

Entire board of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah resigns, leaves leadership decision to PM Mahathir AsiaOne 26th Jul 2018
The entire Khazanah Nasional board of directors have submitted their resignation letters after reaching a unanimous decision that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's administration should determine the company's new leadership structure. Singapore's The Straits Times reported on Thursday (July 26) that Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar and eight other members of the sovereign wealth fund's board decided to resign after a special board meeting on Tuesday (July 24).

Asia is hunting ground as bond funds see bargains in EM rout The Edge Markets 25th Jul 2018
KUALA LUMPUR (July 25): The sell-off in emerging markets is prompting some global money managers to hunt for bargains in Asian bonds and currencies. The rout set off by the dollar’s surge and exacerbated by escalating global trade tensions may have reached an inflection point, and buying opportunities are showing up in countries including India and Malaysia, according to BNP Paribas Asset Management. For Amundi Asset Management, regional currencies such as Indonesia’s rupiah are starting to look attractive.

Singapore banks turn to China's wealthy to offset slumping stock markets Singapore Business Review 23rd Jul 2018
Some banks are looking to establish family offices to serve Chinese entrepreneurs; as a sizeable proportion will look to transfer their wealth to the next generation within the next five to ten years. Singapore wealth management businesses have become stars in their respective banks in 2017 and in the first quarter of 2018. For Q1, the wealth management businesses of UOB, OCBC, and DBS all grew sharply by 30%, 22%, and 17% to $165m, $727m, and $1.36b, respectively. However, the great volatility that has struck global markets is threatening to steal wealth managers’lustre and inevitably affect their banks’ financial health. Notably, wealth management contributed to 31% of OCBC’s income in Q1.

Asian Asset Management Firm to Launch Crypto Custody for Family Offices CCN 23rd Jul 2018
Asian asset management firm Fusang Investment Office is set to launch a crypto asset custody service called Fusang Vault in Hong Kong. The firm, which usually focuses its operations on private family offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia, credits heightened interest in cryptocurrencies from high-net-worth individuals and institutional clients for the move.

Lao central bank faces challenges in stabilizing exchange rate Xinhua 21st Jul 2018
The Bank of the Lao PDR looks set to face a big challenge in keeping the value of the kip against the U.S. dollar stable, as the local market is ignoring the official reference currency exchange rate, local daily Vientiane Times reported on Saturday. A number of currency exchange units in Lao capital Vientiane were on Friday offering an exchange rate of about 8,700 kip per U.S. dollar, which is obviously higher than the reference exchange rate set by the Bank of the Lao PDR, the Lao central bank.

SEC licenses wealth advisers Bangkok Post 18th Jul 2018
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has allowed business intermediaries operating in the capital market to become licensed wealth advisers, aiming to enhance access to investment advisory service and investment options for the public. "The SEC's objective is to provide people with access to the capital market. However, financial advisory or financial planning are often limited to high-income earners," said SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul. "This is the impetus for the SEC's 'Wealth Advice for All' project, which encourages capital market businesses to offer financial advisory and planning, with wider access for the public at a low cost."

Laos' tiny bourse still struggles after all these years Nikkei Asian Review 18th Jul 2018
The Lao Securities Exchange wants to increase the number of listed companies from the current seven to 25 or 35 by 2020, but experts are skeptical. Since the bourse launched in 2011, no more than two companies per year have gone public, making a fourfold or fivefold increase over such a short time frame a challenge.

Indonesia bucks emerging markets trend as buyers pile into bonds Financial Times 16th Jul 2018
With almost half its bond market in foreign hands and a weakening currency, Indonesia’s fate appears seemingly bleak. Not so, according to some bond investors, who think the country represents a better long-term bet than other fragile emerging markets. Indonesia has been caught up in a broader hit on EMs this year, which has been harshest on countries, such as Argentina, with high inflation and large current account and budget deficits. Worries about the fallout from US-Sino trade protectionism have also knocked sentiment towards EMs.

Banking

Singapore Data Breach Could Damage Banks’ Health Bloomberg 28th Jul 2018
Singapore’s banks should watch the fallout from the island’s healthcare-data breach. This could get ugly for them. The National Electronic Health Record project is taking a pause after hackers stole data on 1.5 million patients including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, who was “specifically and repeatedly” targeted. 

Indonesian central bank aims to revive country's sluggish property market The Business Times 25th Jul 2018
AS Indonesia's central bank drives up interest rates to defend a fragile currency, its governor Perry Warjiyo is banking on a revival of the sluggish property sector to maintain growth momentum in South-east Asia's biggest economy.Five years ago, luxury Indonesian apartment prices skyrocketed amid a commodities boom, during which wealthy buyers paid for their properties with cash upfront. The end of the boom, slower economic growth and rules to curb property speculation put the brakes on that. Now, the authorities want to encourage buying. From next month, Bank Indonesia (BI) will scrap its 15 per cent minimum mortgage downpayment for first-time homebuyers and relax rules on loan disbursements in a bid to support listless credit expansion.

Poor people lack access to mobile banking vietnamnews.vn 24th Jul 2018
A large number of poor people and women in Việt Nam have not accessed mobile banking. Statistics from the World Bank showed that only 8 per cent of adults in Việt Nam use mobile phones to access their bank accounts compared to 40 per cent in China, 33 per cent in Malaysia and 17 per cent in Thailand. In addition, many poor people in Việt Nam have not accessed mobile banking services.

MAS tells financial institutions to tighten customer verification processes The Business Times 24th Jul 2018
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has urged financial institutions here to strengthen their customer verification processes. It issued a statement on Tuesday (July 24) in the wake of the country's worst cyber attack when the personal data of 1.5 million SingHealth patients was stolen between June 27 and July 4. The MAS said it recognises that banks already use two-factor authentication processes to identify their customers, and that financial institutions have robust processes in place.

Lending interest rate in inter-bank market hits six-month high vietnamnews.vn 23rd Jul 2018
The interest rate for Vietnamese đồng loans in the inter-bank market has hit the highest level since the beginning of the year due to high demand. Accordingly, the rate for overnight loans last week surged sharply by 1.96 percentage points against the previous week, closing the week at 3.22 per cent.

Banks tighten lending standards amid rising credit growth Philstar 21st Jul 2018
Philippine banks further tightened credit standards for loans to enterprises and households amid perception of stricter financial system regulations, the deterioration of the profile of corporate borrowers, and reduced tolerance for risks. Zeno Ronald Abenoja, senior director of the Department of Economic Research of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, said the Q2 2018 Senior Bank Loan Officers’ Survey (SLOS) showed a net tightening of credit standards for corporate loans based on the diffusion index (DI) approach.

Banks required to control lending Việt Nam News 19th Jul 2018
The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) has required commercial banks to control their credit growth in line with their capital mobilisation ability and credit growth limits set by SBV. Under a document issued on Tuesday, SBV said the control is aimed to ensure the credit growth of the entire banking system is safe and efficient.

Foreign banks enlarge operations in Việt Nam Viet Nam News 17th Jul 2018
Foreign banks in Việt Nam have been expanding their transaction networks and increasing their charter capital in a bid to increase market share, especially in the retail banking sector. Malaysian’s Public Bank Vietnam Ltd last week received the State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV)’s approval to open new three branches and two new transaction offices in Hà Nội, HCM City and Đà Nẵng to raise its total network in Việt Nam to 18 outlets.

Banking on co-ops to boost economy The Star Online 17th Jul 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: The government has expectations for co-operatives to play a role in supporting the economy and contributing more to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), says Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz.

Malaysian central bank reshuffles senior staff Central Banking 16th Jul 2018
The new organisation structure took effect on July 15 Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has revamped its organisational structure in a bid to strengthen its supervision capability and streamline reporting lines. The BNM did not issue a statement on the change but did update the organisation structure chart on its website, noting the changes were effective from July 15.

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.

E-Payments

BoT: E-payment climb hastening Bangkok Post 30th Jul 2018
Thailand's average digital payment transactions are expected to triple to 150 transactions per person per year sooner than previously forecast, thanks to a series of launches of digital banking services. The Bank of Thailand expects the average number of e-payment transactions to increase to 150 transactions per user per year, faster than its earlier estimate that it would take a few years to reach the expected transaction volume, said Siritida Panomwan Na Ayudhya, assistant governor for the central bank's payment systems policy and financial group.

In Thailand E-pay is the Way OpenGovAsia 30th Jul 2018
Thailand's commerce  is heavily influenced by e-payments. Thailand’s average digital payment transactions are expected to triple to 150 transactions per person, per year, sooner than previously forecast. Thai government's e-payment plan PromptPay has 42.6 million registrants with a cumulative transaction value of 1.6 trillion baht. 

BSP backs creation of payments law BusinessMirror 30th Jul 2018
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has expressed support for the passage of the Payment Systems Act to establish clearer guidelines on the electronic transactions and online payments in the country. The act filed under Senate Bill 178, or “An act providing for the regulation and supervision of payment systems,” is currently pending second reading in the Senate.

More Filipinos going cashless BusinessWorld 27th Jul 2018
MAJORITY OF Filipinos are now eager to pay electronically, Visa, Inc. said in a report, even as it flagged concerns on connectivity and infrastructure. In a press briefing on Thursday, Visa said 69% of the Filipinos it surveyed expressed confidence go cashless in a day, data from the 2017 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes Study revealed. The survey added that 70% of respondents have gone cashless for at least a few days, citing convenience and safety as primary concerns.

Central bank links up for Thai pay system The Nation 27th Jul 2018
The system, which would allow people from either country to rapidly send funds to one another, is aimed at those who travel often for business or tourism. An announcement from the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) said it would let users bypass the need to use costly exchanges to turn Cambodian riel into Thai baht, or vice versa. The systems will also allow Cambodian workers in Thailand to transfer money to their families at home.

Singaporeans ditch bank visits to go mobile Singapore Business Review 25th Jul 2018
Mobile banking usage has now overtaken branch visits by 15%. The use of mobile banking has overtaken physical branch interactions by 15% during the past 12 months, J.D. Power revealed. However, user experience still has a way to go. According to its 2018 Singapore Retail Banking Satisfaction Study, 46% of mobile banking customers experienced a problem with their mobile banking apps, such as long loading times and login problems, which is a higher percentage than the 43% in 2017. Meanwhile, 41% of customers that do not use mobile banking apps cite security and trust as the primary reason, an increase of 7 ppt from last year.

Indonesia's top telecom opens up e-wallet to rivals' customers Nikkei Asian Review 18th Jul 2018
JAKARTA -- Indonesia's largest mobile operator, Telkomsel, is opening its electronic payment platform to customers of rival carriers as it seeks to unlock a rich trove of user data. The e-wallet service, known as Tcash, was previously available only to Telkomsel subscribers, but the company said Tuesday that people on other mobile networks, including XL Axiata and Indosat, can now use it as well. While XL and Indosat have their own e-wallets, their marketing campaigns have not been as aggressive as Tcash's.

Regulation of interchange fee rates The Malaysian Reserve 18th Jul 2018
Many countries around the world are aiming to become “cashless societies”. While we have heard of stories that Sweden is close to becoming a cashless economy and that e-payments are ubiquitous in China, Malaysia has lagged behind in the adoption of e-payments. Nonetheless, you may notice that gradually, some mid-size retail chains in Malaysia has removed minimum transaction restrictions on card payments.

Philippines' cryptocurrency to be introduced by July-end BCFocus 17th Jul 2018
The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority [CEZA] of Philippines seeks to introduce its own cryptocurrency before the end of this month. This comes after the CEZA's official announcement in April which allowed ten blockchain and cryptocurrency companies to operate in the economic zone for purpose of job creation and to foster the economy.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to implement digital finance ecosystem to address Filipino issues on financial inclusion OpenGovAsia 17th Jul 2018
The National Retail Payment System (NRSP), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' flagship program for digital finance will support the diverse needs of Filipinos in a manner that is secure, sustainable, convenient, and affordable. BSP has also issued regulations to democratise access to a basic deposit account. An estimated 15.8 million Filipino adults own an account according to the 2017 Financial Inclusion Survey (FIS) conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The number represents ¼ of the total adult population in the country, which is defined as individuals aged 15 and above.

Thailand Is Planning a 'Bond Coin' for Faster Securities Settlement CoinDesk 16th Jul 2018
A self-regulatory organization in Thailand is planning to create a custom token aimed to speed up corporate bond settlement in the country. The Thailand Bond Market Association (TBMA) said it has received the green light from Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission to develop a private blockchain that will be only accessible for parties in the bond market, such as registered issuers, investors and depository organizations.

Thailand eyes adopting blockchain tech in financial sector BCFocus 14th Jul 2018
Thailand's central bank is taking more steps to encourage the use of blockchain technology in the financial industry. Dr. Veerathai Santiprabhob - the central bank's governor - said that the Bank of Thailand is reviewing new technologies, including blockchainapplications, for cross-border payments - before such services are launched for the public. In a speech delivered at the Bloomberg ASEAN Business Summit in Bangkok on Thursday, Santiprabhob said the use of such technologies can help in protecting financial information, thereby reducing fraudulent activities. He added that the central bank’s efforts to adopt blockchain technology can improve regional financial connectivity and enable smoother cross-border payments.

Insurance

Indonesia postpones domestic insurance requirement for thermal coal exporters to Feb 2019 | S&P Global Platts SP Global 30th Jul 2018
Singapore — The Indonesian government has postponed to February 2019 the implementation of a regulation that would have required all Indonesian coal exporters to be covered by a domestic insurance provider from August 1, 2018, industry sources said Friday. According to the sources, the government decided at a meeting Thursday to give the trade ministry six months to revise the policy. The ministry will issue a formal notification next week.

Duterte urges 'speedy passage' of universal health care bill Rappler 24th Jul 2018
While the House has passed its version of the bill, the counterpart measure in the Senate is still pending in the committee level MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte urged Congress during his 3rd State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday, July 23, to swiftly pass the Universal Health Care (UHC) Bill, which aims to ensure all Filipinos will get access to adequate health services.

Bảo Việt tops Việt Nam insurance market vietnamnews.vn 23rd Jul 2018
The Bảo Việt Group ranked first among insurance companies in Việt Nam with a revenue of more than VNĐ9.9 trillion (US$423.7 million) in the first half of 2018. According to the Việt Nam Insurance Association, the firm’s revenue from new insurance contracts in the period reached VNĐ2.42 trillion.

Singapore to introduce protected cells for collateralised reinsurance | Artemis.bm Artemis.bm 17th Jul 2018
Singapore has ambitions to become an insurance-linked securities (ILS) domicile for the Asian region or global issuers looking for an alternative, and with a special purpose reinsurance vehicle (SPRV) already regulated for, the addition of protected cell company (PCC) regulation is a natural next step.Speaking at Artemis’ third annual insurance-linked securities (ILS) conference in Singapore last week, ILS Asia 2018, Jacqueline Loh, a Deputy Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), explained that Singapore’s ambitions are to offer a full suite of ILS structuring options to the market, in order to foster market expansion and greater ILS penetration into the Asian region.

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.

Market Regulation

Singapore to bolster threat intelligence sharing in financial sector ComputerWeekly.com 30th Jul 2018
Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency (CSA) has teamed up with a US-based threat intelligence centre to facilitate sharing of intelligence information and conduct joint cyber security exercises to protect the country’s financial services sector.

Bank reserve requirement steady for now -- BSP BusinessWorld 27th Jul 2018
THE BANGKO SENTRAL ng Pilipinas (BSP) will not introduce further cuts in required bank reserves this year, its chief said, and may pause until inflation eases back on target in 2019. BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. said two cuts in the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) introduced earlier this year should be enough for now, as the central bank takes stock of rising inflation and related developments in financial markets. “We have already achieved significant progress this year,” Mr. Espenilla told financial analysts on Wednesday afternoon. The BSP chief met on Wednesday with bank economists and other market watchers to “promote better understanding” of the central bank’s mandate. This comes as some analysts have flagged confusing signals from the central bank, particularly on the timing of interest rate adjustments. Since June, universal and commercial banks have been required to keep 18% of deposits as reserves from 20% previously.

Securities watchdog tightens cryprocurrency management Viet Nam News 27th Jul 2018
The State Securities Commission (SSC) has required relevant companies and funds not to engage in any issuance, transaction or brokerage activities related to cryptocurrencies. Under an announcement released early this week, SSC banned public companies, securities companies, fund management companies and securities investment funds from taking part in the activities, and required them to obey legal regulations on anti-money laundering.

Vietnam’s Securities Watchdog Bans Industry from Cryptocurrency Activity: Report CCN 26th Jul 2018
The State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC), the country’s stock market watchdog, has reportedly forbidden industry firms from engaging in cryptocurrency-related activities. Vietnam’s official state news agency is reporting that the country’s securities markets watchdog has ‘required’ the industry to not partake in “any issuance, transaction or brokerage activities related to cryptocurrencies” in a circular to all relevant institutions.

Regional security firms to start business next year: OJK The Jakarta Post 24th Jul 2018
The Financial Services Authority (OJK) is drafting a regulation on regional securities firms, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year, according to the OJK’s deputy commissioner for stock market supervision, Fahmi Hilmi.

Myanmar govt asked to urgently address forex instability  The Nation 23rd Jul 2018
Economist Maung Aung said the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) must come up with effective measures to rein in the forex market, in order to create a conducive environment for businesses, particularly those involved in foreign trade.  On July 20 (Friday), CBM set the reference exchange rate of kyat for account transactions against the US dollar at 1,420 kyats for $1. On the same day last month, $1 was equal to 1,368 kyats, 20 kyats higher than that of May. The reference rate has increased nearly 100 kyats per dollar, when compared to the rates in April.

Protecting financial service sector from security threats gets boost from public-private partnership The Straits Times 18th Jul 2018
SINGAPORE - The Cyber Security Agency of Singapore (CSA) and the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Centre on Wednesday (July 18) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at advancing intelligence sharing and conducting joint exercises to better protect the financial service sector. The MOU, valid for three years, was signed at the centre's annual Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore where security leaders from across the financial service sector gathered to solve cyber and physical security threats facing Singapore and the region. With the pact, CSA's overview of multiple sectors will provide the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Centre with greater visibility of cyberthreats impacting the country, while the centre will offer a global perspective based on select insights from its 7,000 members, the two groups said in a joint statement.

Forthcoming fintech panel to guide sector – BSP chief The Manila Times Online 16th Jul 2018
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and other regulators are looking to establish a committee that will guide financial technology companies amid a rapidly evolving business environment. “We are currently working with other financial regulators in creating a new multilateral FinTech Committee under the Financial Sector Forum (FSF) which I chair,” central bank Governor Nestor Espenilla said during a recent speech before the Bankers Institute of the Philippines.

The Financial Service Authority of Indonesia to Release New Set of Rules for Fintech Fintech Crypto News 16th Jul 2018
OJK, the Financial Services Authority of Indonesia will release a new set of rules on financial technology or fintech, owing to the rising number of startups in the fintech industry.

New Bankruptcy Regulations in Vietnam Vietnam Briefing News 13th Jul 2018
The Supreme People’s Court of Vietnam, along with the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme People’s Procuracy, released the Joint Circular No. 07/2018/TTLT-BTP-VKSNDTC-TANDTC (“JC 07”) on June 12, 2018, to ensure coordination in the enforcement of bankruptcy decisions by the court. It includes guidelines on issues related to enforcement procedures for court decisions on bankruptcy cases. JC 07 which will come into effect on August 1, 2018, will lead to better coordination between the enforcement agencies and courts and will further strengthen the bankruptcy and insolvency framework.

Central bank steps in to slow baht slide Bangkok Post 13th Jul 2018
The Bank of Thailand has moved to curb the baht's rapid retreat against the greenback as the local currency hit a nine-month low. The central bank has sporadically taken action against the currency's weakness by selling the US dollar to smooth out the baht's movement after it depreciated at a faster pace, lowering foreign reserves, said Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob. He said the move is normal practice for the central bank.