The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been named central bank of the year, it was announced yesterday. The award from London-based journal Central Banking recognises best practices in policy, governance, economics and management.
Editor-in-chief and award committee chairman Christopher Jeffery said in a press statement: "Singapore's central bank stands out for its pioneering fintech efforts combined with its consistency of performance in monetary policy, financial stability and supervision.
"The MAS has proven itself to be a well-structured and agile institution capable of introducing joined-up rule-making while embracing technological change, all the while seeking to maintain a focus on prudent oversight of financial institutions - for which it has a strong track record."
The journal noted that MAS has displayed an enviable track record for monetary and financial stability, implements coherent financial system oversight as a "super-regulator", and has emerged as a pioneer in creating a framework to facilitate next-generation technological and financial innovation.
Some of the authority's recent fintech innovations include setting up a behavioural sciences unit, a technology risk supervision department and a data analytics group.
"The MAS has placed a keen emphasis on understanding the risks and benefits of new technology. It has upgraded Singapore's payments infrastructure and supported pioneering initiatives around cloud computing, artificial intelligence, big data and distributed ledger technology," Central Banking said.
The MAS was praised for its anti-money laundering efforts and for taking action against financial institutions and individuals linked to the alleged theft of funds from Malaysian state-owned development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
The MAS closed two banks, BSI Bank and Falcon Private Bank, and fined another eight in relation to the scandal.
Central Banking also praised the MAS for tightening monetary policy in April and October last year, and for implementing other policies that helped to moderate housing price appreciation.
MAS managing director Ravi Menon said in the same statement: "This award is a tribute to the staff of MAS - their unstinting commitment to doing their best and the One MAS spirit of teamwork across the organisation.
"We would not have been able to achieve what we have without the strong partnership and support of the financial industry in Singapore, which has maintained high standards of prudence while pushing the boundaries of innovation."
Said DBS Group chief executive Piyush Gupta: "As the CEO of a major Singapore bank that is also on a transformational journey, I cannot ask for a more agile, informed, collaborative and visionary central bank as a partner."
The MAS has consistently been at the forefront of efforts to blend specific macro-prudential policy objectives within a backdrop of rigorous adherence to global regulatory standards. This twin approach, pragmatically applied, has anchored Singapore's financial sector for more than half a century.''
DBS CHIEF EXECUTIVE PIYUSH GUPTA
The outcome of the MAS' sustained and consistent efforts is that Singapore is regarded as one of the largest fintech hubs in the world... The MAS also hosts the annual FinTech Festival, in its third year running, which has become the largest fintech event in the world. ''
SINGAPORE EXCHANGE CHIEF EXECUTIVE LOH BOON CHYE
STAFF COMMITTED TO DOING THEIR BEST
This award is a tribute to the staff of MAS - their unstinting commitment to doing their best and the One MAS spirit of teamwork across the organisation. We would not have been able to achieve what we have without the strong partnership and support of the financial industry in Singapore, which has maintained high standards of prudence while pushing the boundaries of innovation.''
MAS MANAGING DIRECTOR RAVI MENON
Singapore Exchange chief executive Loh Boon Chye said: "The outcome of the MAS' sustained and consistent efforts is that Singapore is regarded as one of the largest fintech hubs in the world...
"The MAS also hosts the annual FinTech Festival, in its third year running, which has become the largest fintech event in the world."
Award winners were judged by a panel comprising members of the Central Banking editorial team and an advisory board that included former central bank governors and Nobel Prize-winning economists.
The awards, now in their sixth year, also recognised individuals in categories such as governor of the year, which was awarded to Bank of Israel governor Karnit Flug.
The presentation ceremony will be held at the annual Central Banking Awards gala dinner in London on March 13.