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Singapore's central bank sets up analytics group

The move by The Monetary Authority of Singapore is part of larger efforts to position Singapore's financial sector for the digital economy

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will establish a data analytics group (DAG) in March 2017, in a bid to harness data analytics to enhance supervision of financial institutions and make regulatory compliance more efficient.

The central bank said on 13 February 2017 that the DAG is part of larger efforts to position itself and Singapore’s financial sector for the digital economy.

Besides setting up a financial technology (fintech) innovation lab in August 2016, it is also reviewing rules on venture capital funding for fintech startups.

The DAG will house a data governance and architecture office, which will formulate data management policies, manage data collection and publish official statistics.

In addition, a specialist analytics and visualisation (SAV) office will help departments improve their data capabilities through reusable tools and code libraries. Together with MAS’s IT department, the SAV team will design and implement the technical infrastructure needed to support the central bank’s data analytics work.

There will also be a supervisory technology office tasked to conduct data analyses on supervisory and financial sector data. It will work with MAS’s fintech and innovation group to promote data analytics capabilities in the financial industry and foster innovations to make regulatory compliance more efficient and effective.

MAS managing director Ravi Menon said the digitisation of information and the harnessing of data from multiple platforms have created the opportunity to use data analytics to understand the economy and the financial system with a depth that was not possible before.

“MAS is committed to building strong capabilities in data analytics to seize this opportunity. Our data analytics group will work with the financial industry to sharpen the surveillance of risks, and with the various departments in MAS to transform the way we do our work,” he said.

Read more about data analytics in APAC

The DAG will be headed by David Roi Hardoon, who has a PhD in machine learning, as well as deep research background and experience in developing and applying analytical models. Hardoon was co-founder and executive director at Azendian Solutions, a Singapore-based data analytics specialist.

The move by MAS comes at a time when the banking and securities industry is increasingly investing in advanced data analytics, as tools such as artificial intelligence become more popular in mature Asia-Pacific (APAC) markets such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

According to Gartner, IT spending by banking and securities firms in the mature APAC region will reach $67.1bn in 2017, an increase of 5.4% from 2016.

The technology research firm expects the software segment to grow the fastest at 8.5% in 2017, as firms in the banking and securities industry invest more in applications, infrastructure and vertical-specific software.

Read more on Information technology (IT) in ASEAN