MAS named central bank of the year by London-based financial magazine

The award from London-based journal Central Banking recognises best practices in policy, governance, economics and management.
The award from London-based journal Central Banking recognises best practices in policy, governance, economics and management.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

LONDON - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been named the central bank of the year, it was announced on Wednesday (Feb 6). 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 release: "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."

MAS managing director Ravi Menon said in the same release: "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."

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 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 the Malaysian state-owned development fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad.

 
 
 
 

The MAS closed two banks, BSI Bank and Falcon Private Bank, and fined another eight, including DBS, UBS and United Overseas Bank 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.

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."

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 won by 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.