Financial Services Update: August 20, 2019

Financial Services Update | August 20, 2019
Authors: Michaela Wong
 
LOOKING AHEAD
 
 

16 - 18 September, 2019: Please join us for the 2019 Philippines Business Mission. Meetings with Bangko Sentral Pilipinas and the Ministry of Finance have been confirmed and will be included in the meeting schedule. More information regarding the mission is available here.

6 September, 2019: 1st Planning Call for the TELMIN Business Mission

9 - 10 September, 2019: ASEAN Economic Ministers' (AEM) Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand

 
THE COUNCIL'S TAKE
 
 

New Cyber Hygiene Rule for All Financial Services and E-Payment Firms in Singapore

On August 6, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced mandatory regulations requiring all financial services and e-payment firms in Singapore to put precautions in place against the increasing threat of cyber attacks. The requirements for firms to maintain “cyber hygiene” will enter into effect on August 6, 2020. The Notice on Cyber Hygiene requires legally binding measures that include:

  • Establish and implement robust security for IT systems.
  • Ensure updates are applied to address system security flaws in a timely manner.
  • Deploy security devices to restrict unauthorized network traffic.
  • Implement measures to mitigate the risk of malware infection.
  • Secure the use of system accounts with special privileges to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Strengthen user authentication for critical systems as well as systems used to access customer information.

MAS consulted the public in September 2018 on the new rules and received generally positive feedback from financial institutions. Company input suggested enhancing user access to systems that store or access customer data, as well as expanding the implementation period for entities to adapt their systems for user authentication technology. MAS has been particularly focused on the financial sector, as cyber attacks threaten capital and confidential consumer data. MAS is the first financial regulatory authority in the world to establish regulations for cyber hygiene and the rule, in conjunction with the new Payment Services Act, are expected to help the industry better protect itself.

Indonesia Eases Process for Foreign Banks to Invest in Local Lenders

The Indonesian Financial Services Authority (OJK) plans to loosen regulations stipulated in Regulation No.39/POJK.03/2017, which requires a merger of all local operations in the instance of large banks acquiring smaller ones, in an effort to prevent individual investors from maintaining a controlling interest in more than one bank. The new rule is intended to encourage consolidation within the banking sector and promises equal treatment for foreign and local banks. OJK Commissioner Heru Kristiyana hopes the change will enable a more competitive banking industry again the rise of fintech and banking digitalization. He has also urged foreign banks considering a local acquisition to continue to hire Indonesian residents for director and commissioner roles and to help bolster the local economy through financing infrastructure and SMEs. Investors will be able to acquire a majority stake in any lender with less than IDR5trillion (USD354.4 million) in paid up capital. The merger requirement will still remain for major banks acquiring another big bank.

BNM: Positive Outlook for E-Payment Migration But More Improvements to Be Made

At the 2019 E-Payments Excellence Awards (MEEA) on July 31, Bank Negara Malaysia Assistant Governor Adnan Zaylani Mohamad Zahid outlined Malaysia’s ongoing success with e-payments and pointed out key areas of focus moving forward during his keynote address. He applauded the country’s successful payments journey, including reducing check usage by half in 7 years, doubling e-payment acceptance points (including point-of-sale terminals), and enabling the rapid rise of QR payments.

Adnan Zaylani also provided three broad priorities for compounding upon the burgeoning payments industry. Firstly, Malaysia should focus on making e-payment adoption more inclusive to expand beyond urban centers to hawkers and night markets that play such a large role in Malaysia. He also pointed to emerging technologies and digitized salary payments as a means of converting more of the population to e-payments. Assistant Governor Adnan then suggested financial institutions place consumer needs at the center of their innovations, including though budgeting features and money management tools, rather than depending on cashback offerings to maintain users. He pointed to BNM’s virtual banking framework as the main strategy for stimulating effective innovations among industry players. Finally, he stressed the importance of ensuring the payments industry remain adaptable as well as inclusive. The Real-time Retail Payments Platform will serve as a core initiative in achieving this scalability.

 
 
 
IN THIS UPDATE
 
 
Market Development
Local retailers can seize the lion's share
Amazon establishes subsidiary in Việt Nam

ASEAN
‘Asean fintech sector growth needs region-wide policy harmonisation’

Banking
KBank passes along rate cut for lending
Illegal Currency Exchange Services Causing Price Hikes
In Vietnam, the banking sector has the highest salary
New digital era for Vietnam's banks
Three More Foreign Banks To Launch in Philippines

E-Payments
Central city to boost cashless transactions
Blockchain tech is applicable in many banking activities: expert
Alipay Payment Platform Set to Enter Laos
Cashless payments making steady inroads
Singapore's move to waive sales tax on digital payment tokens will spur innovation, boost cryptocurrency exchanges, says PwC

Economics
Thailand News: Uttama ‘guarantees’ enough money to finance economic policies, maintain stability
Lists of compulsory non-cash transactions announced
Party leadership approves additional measures to boost economy in Laos

Indonesia
WhatsApp in talks to launch mobile payments in Indonesia
Traveloka to offer Indonesia's first flight delay insurance
Indonesia to Relax Bank Merger Rule in Push for Efficiency

Laos
Lao central bank advised to strictly regulate money changers
Insurers called upon to help victims of Laos dam collapse
Laos’ LDB to enhance collaboration with int’l partner
Electronic system helps Laos' govt to boost revenue
Bank Mandiri to expand business in Laos, Cambodia

Malaysia
Grab Malaysia launches usage-based motor insurance, takaful policies for e-hailing drivers
BNM: E-Wallets Need to Move Beyond Cashbacks to Be Sustainable

Market Regulation
Financial services and e-payment firms in Singapore must follow new cyber hygiene rules from next August: MAS

Myanmar
Latest CBM ruling seen as setback for cashless transactions
Growth potential seen in microfinance sector
Usage of int’l prepaid cards in kyat not allowed: CBM

Singapore
Fintech investments in Singapore nearly quadrupled to US$453m in H1 2019: report
New mandatory rules from next year for financial industry to combat cyber threats: MAS
MAS proposes new requirements to curb market abuse in consultation paper
Singapore banks get updated guide for safe use of cloud services

Thailand
Over-the-top tax bid for Asean
Thai insurer offers world's first auto coverage to start and stop with engine
Thai banks deploy blockchain transactions to boost cross-border trade
Cashless movement picks up steam
Revenue mulls capital gains tax
 
ARTICLE CLIPS
 
 
Market Development

Local retailers can seize the lion's share Vietnam News Agency 19th Aug 2019
Vietnamese retail companies are in pole position to seize the lion’s share of the market, especially after some foreign businesses have left the country. With total sales of up to US$180 billion predicted for 2020, the Vietnamese retail market is drawing attention of international companies posing challenges for local firms. According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, total retail sales in the first seven months of this year was up 11.56 per cent year on year to VNĐ2.8 trillion ($120.4 million). The exit of foreign companies such as Auchan and Shop & Go proves domestic retailers have become stronger and have a bigger stake in the domestic market, she said. Business insiders and analysts have said the Vietnamese retail market will get more competitive with local firms being more aggressive, proactive and well-positioned.

Amazon establishes subsidiary in Việt Nam Vietnam News Agency 16th Aug 2019
Amazon has established a subsidiary in Việt Nam, Amazon Selling Vietnam’s CEO Trần Xuân Thủy told media at the Việt Nam Online Marketing Forum on Wednesday. This was the first official announcement of the subsidiary. Amazon officially entered the Vietnamese market in March last year. The US e-commerce giant has co-operated with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) on many programmes to enable local businesses to sell goods on its platform to expand their export potential. Amazon’s representative said the company had long encouraged individuals to sell goods on the marketplace but now the trend was changing. Amazon was gearing up to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do business on its e-commerce platform. “Currently, about 50 per cent of Amazon’s sales come from enterprises and individuals account for another 50 per cent," Thủy was quoted as saying by ttvn.vn. "I think the proportion of individual sales will continue declining in the coming year."

ASEAN

‘Asean fintech sector growth needs region-wide policy harmonisation’ The Edge Markets 16th Aug 2019
ASEAN stands to be at the forefront of the development of financial technology (fintech), which will make financial services and financing available to both the 53% of unbanked population and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the region, which enjoys above global average Internet penetration and mobile connectivity rates. But there are regional and domestic gaps that hinder fintech’s growth that must be addressed, said CIMB Asean Research Institute (Cari) chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid, who is also a member of the Economic Action Council chaired by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Banking

KBank passes along rate cut for lending Bangkok Post 14th Aug 2019
Kasikornbank (KBank) has taken the lead in fully passing on the central bank's 25-basis-point policy rate cut by slashing its minimum retail rate (MRR) and minimum overdraft rate (MOR). The new rate for the two prime lending rates will take effect from Aug 15, said co-president Predee Daochai. The bank's new MRR and MOR will be at the same rate of 6.87% after the rates are cut. "The bank stands ready to pass on the policy rate cut by trimming the MOR and MRR by 0.25 percentage points to help small and medium-sized enterprises and assist with the burden of retail borrowers as these lending rates are for most of the loans extended to these customer groups," he said. Last week the Bank of Thailand unexpectedly cut the benchmark rate to 1.50% from 1.75% to boost the country's stuttering economy.

Illegal Currency Exchange Services Causing Price Hikes Laotian Times 12th Aug 2019
A senior Lao government official has warned that unregistered currency exchange services that violate currency regulations must be punished. A number of foreign currency exchange services in Laos are openly flouting regulations, exacerbating the fluctuation of exchange rates, Vice President of Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI,) Ms Valy Vetsaphong said during a consultative meeting between public and private sector representatives on 6 August.

In Vietnam, the banking sector has the highest salary VietNamNet 1st Aug 2019
According to audited financial reports 2018 from 20 Vietnamese banks, the average monthly income of banking employees in 2018 were VND12.37 million-34 million (USD521.73-1,478). Vietcombank ranked first with VND33.5 million. It is followed by Techcombank with VND30 million. The runners-up are MBBank with VND25.89 million, BIDV with VND25.16 million and VIB with VND22.8 million. A survey by the State Bank of Vietnam, up to 70.93% of Vietnamese banks recruited more staff last year. By late this year, 76.7% of the banks will have increased their employees. The White Book on Vietnamese Enterprises 2019 issued by the Ministry of Planning and Investment also indicated that the finance, banking and insurance sectors saw the highest salary in 2017 with the average monthly figure of VND21.6 million.

New digital era for Vietnam's banks VietNamNet 1st Aug 2019
Much is being done to take Vietnam's banking and finance sector into the digital age, according to industry insiders. Digital banking will be the future of Vietnam’s banking system, especially amid the development of Industry 4.0. The Vietnamese Government is now in the process of building national financial inclusion strategies with Industry 4.0 in mind, which are expected to be enforced in 2020. This should be the foundation for deploying digital technologies in Vietnam’s banking and finance sector. The financial inclusion roadmap includes changes in the legal framework, financial infrastructure development, IT application, and the diversification of financial products and services.

Three More Foreign Banks To Launch in Philippines finews.asia 29th Jul 2019
The Philippines continues to attract interest from foreign financial institutions due to its sound macroeconomic environment and stable investment climate, according to a ranking official of the central bank. Chuchi Fonacier, deputy governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilpinas (BSP), shared the news of the three new entrants during a recent speech, adding that the regulator was committed to strengthening risk governance, leverage technology and achieve greater and broader access to financial services.  Fonacier said that the three foreign banks were from South Korea, Indonesia, and Hong Kong but did not disclose their names. Since former Philippines President Benign Aquino opened the market to foreign banks, the BSP has allowed 12 foreign banks to open branches and 13 to establish representative offices.

E-Payments

Central city to boost cashless transactions Vietnam News Agency 20th Aug 2019
The city of Đà Nẵng, the region’s major economic driver, is making headway in raising awareness on the benefits of cashless transactions as well as in building financial and technical infrastructure for the future development of a cashless society. The city has implemented a project to help distribute information on cashless transactions to local businesses and people. Đà Nẵng’s State Bank office and other credit institutes have taken measures to help customers understand that their rights will be protected and their privacy and conveniences are top priorities. Credit institutes have been reviewing the city’s POS (point-of-sale) and mPOS network to recall rarely-used POS machines, installing modern ATM machines with a wide range of functions to provide customers with more services as well as online support.

Blockchain tech is applicable in many banking activities: expert Vietnam News Agency 20th Aug 2019
Blockchain technology can be used in many different fields of modern economics, especially banking activities, banking expert Cấn Văn Lực has said. Blockchain helps save time and costs for businesses and government agencies when they make payments via international banking networks for trade activities, he said at a workshop on Sunday in HCM City. Stakeholders in a trade deal can replace paper with e-paper, which can be uploaded onto the blockchain platform, then it will become shareable, Cấn said. Doing business online using blockchain platforms is time-saving and cost-saving because it takes seconds to connect to each other and stakeholders don’t have to contact through brokers like they used to, he said.

Alipay Payment Platform Set to Enter Laos Laotian Times 7th Aug 2019
Chinese mobile payment platform Alipay is set to make a foray into Laos after Lao Development Bank (LDB) entered into an agreement with KIWI Company to roll out the service. KIWI Group, a fintech operator in Southeast Asia, provides cashless payment solutions for its clients. The service will allow users to make payments and transactions at stores and restaurants in Laos that are partnered with LDB.

Cashless payments making steady inroads VietNamNet 4th Aug 2019
Attempts to date to move the population away from their preference for cash need to be continually built upon. Summer really heated up in June, with a host of great deals like refunds, discounts, free shipping, and gift vouchers being offered to customers by supermarkets, banks, and e-wallet providers. All were activities marked “Cashless Payment Day”, which took place in Vietnam for the first time on June 16. The government and the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) will mark the day every year, when consumers are encouraged to use cashless payments when shopping or making other payment transactions and will enjoy special offers from credit institutions, payment intermediaries, retailers, and service providers.

Singapore's move to waive sales tax on digital payment tokens will spur innovation, boost cryptocurrency exchanges, says PwC Yahoo Finance 29th Jul 2019
The Singapore government's proposal to exempt digital payment tokens from a sales tax when they are used to pay for goods and services is likely to benefit cryptocurrency exchanges, asset managers and blockchain entrepreneurs, according to accounting giant PwC. The waiver of the 7 per cent goods and services tax (GST) would also bring the city state closer to Hong Kong in terms of being a tax-friendly jurisdiction for cryptocurrencies, said Gwenda Ho, a partner in PwC Hong Kong's corporate tax practice. She said the proposal by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) could potentially spur more innovation from entrepreneurs in the field of blockchain-based services and solutions.

Economics

Thailand News: Uttama ‘guarantees’ enough money to finance economic policies, maintain stability ThaiVisa News 29th Jul 2019
Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana on Friday guaranteed that the government will be able to fund its economic policies while maintaining financial stability for the rest of the year. During the morning’s policy debate in parliament, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha restated his intention to continue developing the Eastern Economic Corridor. He claimed that the special economic zone has the potential to boost Thailand’s economic growth to Vietnam’s level. The announcement was followed by the opposition coalition expressing more doubts as to how the government could fund their economic stimulus policies without jeopardising the financial stability of the country. In his reply, the finance minister revealing that the central budget currently has a value of Bt500 billion. The budget is divided into 11 categories, including a category for emergency spending with a value of Bt100 billion, he stated.

Lists of compulsory non-cash transactions announced vietnamnews.vn 29th Jul 2019
Authorities have announced a list of transactions that will have to be made via banks in some areas in a move to boost non-cash payments. According to a newly-issued regulation of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV), several payments and transactions in merger and acquisition (M&A) activities, securities, tax and State budget must now be made via banks. Accordingly, in the financial sector, enterprises that contribute capital to purchase and sell stakes in other enterprises, or transfer their contributed capital to other enterprises must use non-cash payment forms. Non-credit institutions are also required to use non-cash payments for transactions related to loans and loan repayments.

Party leadership approves additional measures to boost economy in Laos Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 29th Jul 2019
The Party Central Committee of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party has resolved to plug loopholes in order to prevent revenue leaks along with imposing harsher penalties on officials involved in financial misappropriation. This was part of the additional measures package the committee resolved to adopt at its 8th plenary session. Party Secretary General Bounnhang Vorachit, who is the President of the Lao PDR, recently signed the resolution on behalf of the committee. The plenary session agreed to accelerate work to modernise revenue and expenditure management systems, while maximising revenue sourced from land, mining, and services.

Indonesia

WhatsApp in talks to launch mobile payments in Indonesia U.S. 20th Aug 2019
Facebook Inc’s (FB.O) messaging service WhatsApp is in talks with multiple Indonesian digital payment firms to offer their mobile transaction services, in a bid to tap the nation’s fast growing e-commerce sector, people familiar with the matter said. Indonesia could become the second country worldwide where WhatsApp introduces such services, as it awaits regulatory approval from India, its biggest market by users, that has been delayed due to local data storage rules.

Traveloka to offer Indonesia's first flight delay insurance The Jakarta Post 4th Aug 2019
Traveloka announced on Monday that it would be the first online booking platform in the country to provide a solution for the hassle of flight delays by offering On-Time Protection insurance. A problem that many flyers often experience is flight delays, and it is an issue that costs customers valuable time and money every single year. Traveloka hopes to address one aspect of this problem with a new insurance option. Flight delays are often unavoidable and apart from the time lost, passengers may also have their vacation or business disrupted. According to Transportation Ministry data on the on-time performance of airlines in the first half of 2018, out of the 415,961 flights taking off during that period, 21 percent (87,509) were delayed, Traveloka said in a press release.

Indonesia to Relax Bank Merger Rule in Push for Efficiency Bloomberg 31st Jul 2019
Indonesia is planning further steps to make it easier for foreign banks to invest in local lenders as well as encourage domestic mergers, as it tries to strengthen the sector against growing competition from financial technology firms. The Financial Services Authority, known as OJK, expects to amend the so-called single presence policy later this year, according to Heru Kristiyana, commissioner for banking supervision at the regulator. The revised rule, which will make no distinction between foreign and local lenders, would relax the longstanding requirement that the acquiring banks have to merge all their local operations into one entity.

Laos

Lao central bank advised to strictly regulate money changers Phnom Penh Post 15th Aug 2019
The Bank of the Lao PDR (BoL) should not merely issue warnings to money changers who break the currency regulation rules, a senior Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI) official said last week. The remarks were made during a consultative meeting between public and private sector representatives in Vientiane to discuss foreign exchange rates and other topics related to public services to ease business operations.

Insurers called upon to help victims of Laos dam collapse Insurance Business 15th Aug 2019
On July 23, 2018, an auxiliary dam that was part of the Xe Pian-Xe Namnoy hydropower complex collapsed, causing 71 fatalities and displacing thousands from their homes. Two international organisations, Inclusive Development International and International Rivers, urged several large insurance companies, including AIG, Samsung Fire & Marine, and Korean Re, to honour their end of the insurance contracts.

Laos’ LDB to enhance collaboration with int’l partner Phnom Penh Post 15th Aug 2019
Alipay is available for use by Lao and foreigners at the state-owned Lao Development Bank (LDB). The bank is also preparing to step up cooperation with international partners overseas and is expected to list on the Lao Securities Exchange at some point in the future. LDB has cooperated with China’s UnionPay and Alipay, both leading transaction technologies, and some foreign subsidiary financial institutions and Chinese bank operations in Laos, for kip and yuan transactions.

Electronic system helps Laos' govt to boost revenue Eleven Media Group Co., Ltd 15th Aug 2019
Revenue earned from taxes increased by 20 percent in the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Finance. The increase followed the introduction of the new tax revenue management information system (TAXRIS) earlier this year. So far, the system is operating in 10 major towns in seven provinces of Laos. 

Bank Mandiri to expand business in Laos, Cambodia Antara News 2nd Aug 2019
With both Laos and Cambodia looking to become potential financial markets, an Indonesian-owned bank of PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk is focusing on expanding its business to these two Southeast Asian markets. "Prospects are more open in those two countries as they have just started to develop," Bank Mandiri Corporate Secretary Rohan Nafas said here, Friday.

Malaysia

Grab Malaysia launches usage-based motor insurance, takaful policies for e-hailing drivers The Edge Markets 6th Aug 2019
Grab Malaysia has introduced a usage-based motor insurance and takaful for its e-hailing drivers. In a statement today, the group said the insurance and takaful policy Grab Daily Insurance (GDI) was specially designed in partnership with 14 leading Malaysian insurers and takaful operators. Grab Malaysia said this offers its driver-partners the option to add on a daily e-hailing insurance or takaful coverage from RM1 a day. The move comes in as new e-hailing regulations require e-hailing drivers to purchase an e-hailing insurance or takaful policy, on top of their existing motor insurance or takaful policies, which average between RM400 and RM500 a year.

BNM: E-Wallets Need to Move Beyond Cashbacks to Be Sustainable Fintech News Malaysia 1st Aug 2019
During his keynote speech at the “Malaysian E-Payments Excellence Awards” Assistant Governor Adnan Zaylani Mohamad Zahid outlined the state of e-payments in Malaysia and the key strategic focus for Malaysia’s payments journey. Specifically he highlighted the unevenness of e-payment adoption; he stressed that the industry needs to work together to drive adoption beyond just urban centres and to also have an increased focus towards low-tier merchants like hawkers and night markets which are often frequented by Malaysians.

Market Regulation

Financial services and e-payment firms in Singapore must follow new cyber hygiene rules from next August: MAS The Straits Times 6th Aug 2019
All financial services and e-payment firms in Singapore must follow a set of cyber hygiene rules from August next year, with Singapore's central bank stepping up efforts to strengthen the sector's defence against rising threats. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced the mandatory rules on Tuesday (Aug 6), saying the sector will be more exposed to risks when it opens up to more technology players including e-wallet services and cryptocurrency firms.

Myanmar

Latest CBM ruling seen as setback for cashless transactions The Myanmar Times 1st Aug 2019
An announcement from the Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) disallowing the use of prepaid cards in the local currency is a step backwards for cashless transactions, industry observers said. The CBM, which made the announcement on July 25, said prepaid cards with a limit of US$5,000 issued by local banks in partnership with foreign financial services firms can only be used as a payment option by Myanmar nationals on trips abroad as well as foreigners in the country. No transactions can be made in the kyat equivalent using these cards by Myanmar nationals in the country.

Growth potential seen in microfinance sector The Myanmar Times 30th Jul 2019
With a quarter of the Myanmar population living under the poverty line and as much as 87 percent hailing from rural areas, according to the World Bank, the microfinance sector has good potential to grow in Myanmar. However, providers can be more efficient in their funding if there is better financial data on borrowers. Microfinancing has grown rapidly since the country passed the Microfinance Business Law in 2011 allowing microfinancing firms to operate, with some 180 companies now serving 3.4 million clients and a total loan portfolio of K350 billion, according to the Myanmar Microfinance Association (MMFA).

Usage of int’l prepaid cards in kyat not allowed: CBM The Myanmar Times 29th Jul 2019
In a statement signed by CBM Director General Daw Myint Myint Kyi of the Accounts Department, the CBM noted that prepaid cards are being used to settle payments in Myanmar kyat at domestic shopping malls and restaurants. It told private banks that it had allowed prepaid cards from Master, Visa, UPI and JCB with a limit of US$5000 to be used as payment options by Myanmar nationals going abroad as well as foreigners in Myanmar.  However, prepaid card payments in the local currency are not allowed. 

Singapore

Fintech investments in Singapore nearly quadrupled to US$453m in H1 2019: report The Business Times 15th Aug 2019
FINTECH investments in Singapore nearly quadrupled to US$453 million in the first half this year, up from US$118 million in the year-ago period - placing the country as the third largest fintech market by funds in Asia-Pacific, just behind China and India. This is according to the latest research by Accenture, which analysed data from CB Insights, a global venture-finance data and analytics firm. In particular, the number of deals closed in Singapore rose by 55 per cent to 48, up from 31 in the first half of 2018. About 28 per cent of the total funds raised in the period went to insurtechs, while fintech companies in payments took 27 per cent, and those in lending took 25 per cent, the data showed.

New mandatory rules from next year for financial industry to combat cyber threats: MAS CNA 6th Aug 2019
Financial institutions must comply with a new set of requirements by next year to "raise the cyber security standards and strengthen cyber resilience" of the sector, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Tuesday (Aug 6).   The legally binding notice on cyber hygiene sets out the measures that firms and organisations must take to "mitigate the growing risk of cyber threats". Key elements in the existing MAS technology risk management guidelines will also be made compulsory, the authority added. 

MAS proposes new requirements to curb market abuse in consultation paper The Straits Times 5th Aug 2019
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is seeking to impose new requirements on financial institutions (FIs) in Singapore to improve controls and facilitate investigations in market abuse cases. MAS cited in a consultation paper released on Monday (Aug 5) that the absence of information and delays associated with the retrieval of information on individuals who own or control trading accounts have impeded investigations into market abuses. Moreover, such challenges, MAS added, have been exacerbated by technology, the increasing number of cross-border transactions as well as insufficient controls to detect and deter market abuse at brokerages.

Singapore banks get updated guide for safe use of cloud services The Straits Times 2nd Aug 2019
The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) has published updated guidelines for financial institutions (FIs) when they enter into cloud outsourcing arrangements for their safe adoption. ABS said the updated guide represents a "substantial revision" from its first publication in June 2016 as it takes into account technological advancements and the evolution of market practices. Among other things, it contains best practice recommendations and considerations by the banks to support the safe adoption of cloud.

Thailand

Over-the-top tax bid for Asean Bangkok Post 14th Aug 2019
Thailand will propose a tax on over-the-top (OTT) service providers to Asean members when the region's telecom regulators meet in Bangkok next week, says the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC). The 25th Asean Telecommunication Regulators' Council (ATRC) meeting will be held Aug 20-23 at Anantara Riverside Hotel. A press statement yesterday from the NBTC indicated that key topics to be discussed at the event include issues surrounding the OTT business.

Thai insurer offers world's first auto coverage to start and stop with engine Nikkei Asian Review 7th Aug 2019
A Thai insurer has introduced the world's first insurance policy that automatically switches on when the driver starts the car, aiming to cut the costs of automotive cover by as much as 40%. Thailand's mid-sized nonlife insurer Thaivivat Insurance has teamed up with the nation's largest telecom service provider Advanced Info Service to integrate internet of things solutions into its minute-by-minute motor insurance service.

Thai banks deploy blockchain transactions to boost cross-border trade The Nation Thailand 7th Aug 2019
Top banks in Thailand have successfully deployed cross-border blockchain transactions to boost the efficiency of cross-border trade, while Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri) expects their cross-border blockchain solution, the Krungsri Blockchain Interledger, to be officially implemented by the end of this year. “The traditional process of cross-border trade often faces delays due to the checking of documents and verification systems that are still reliant on paperwork,” Thakorn Piyapan, head of Krungsri Consumer Group and the Digital Banking and Innovation Division, said. With the new blockchain solution, cross-border trade can become more efficient as the process will be significantly shortened, he added. 

Cashless movement picks up steam Bangkok Post 1st Aug 2019
Online payments are growing exponentially as banks and tech firms enter the segment While cash remains king in Thailand, dominating 90% of the country’s total payment value, exponential growth in online payments after banks waived digital transaction fees and a consumer shift towards digital platforms suggest the notion of a cash-free society is gathering steam. Digital payments gained ground in Thailand after PromptPay, the government-initiated money transfer and payment scheme, was launched in early 2017. Banks scrapped digital transaction fees in the following years, giving a big boost to online transaction growth.

Revenue mulls capital gains tax Bangkok Post 31st Jul 2019
The imposition of a capital gains tax on equity investments is being studied, including input from academics, but whether it will be enacted rests with the government, says the head of the Revenue Department. The Revenue Department must consider the pros and cons of taxing gains from selling shares, said Ekniti Nitithanprapas, director-general of the department. The tax would boost the government's coffers but could affect the capital market's fundraising efficiency. The study was initiated because of Thailand's wide disparity in income, he said. A capital gains tax requires thorough study as it is a sensitive issue, meaning such a levy would not be imposed anytime soon, said Mr Ekniti.