SINGAPORE - Singaporeans will be able to get a consolidated view of their insurance policies across various insurers with the addition of these plans to the Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex), Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said on Wednesday.
The country will also invest $150 million in fresh funds to foster innovation in financial services, and take another step towards eliminating all cheques, among other initiatives announced by Mr Wong in his opening address at the Singapore FinTech Festival.
The SGFinDex service was rolled out in December 2020 to help individuals in their financial planning by giving them an overview of their loans, deposits, Central Provident Fund balances and investment holdings.
With a few clicks, individuals can access data from various private and public agencies, all consolidated in a single page on their banks or insurers’ financial planning platforms, or the Government’s financial planning tool MyMoneySense.
With the addition of insurance policies to SGFinDex, Singaporeans will be able to identify potential gaps in their protection more easily, and have a more comprehensive view of their financial positions, said Mr Wong, who is also Finance Minister.
The insurers on the service are AIA, AXA, Great Eastern, Income, Manulife, Prudential and Singlife with Aviva.
There are currently more than 30,000 active users of SGFinDex a month, with nearly 1.2 million data retrievals, said the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
More financial institutions and a wider range of financial information are set to be added.
Mr Wong also announced in his speech that Singapore will invest $150 million over the next three years to further encourage innovation in the financial sector, including in emerging areas such as environmental, social and governance.
The funds will be used to enhance the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme, which started in 2015.
Mr Wong said that more than 200 jobs have been created with the setting up of new innovation labs, and the scheme has also supported the growth of fintech start-ups into technology players with a strong connection to financial services.
MAS will consolidate several areas under the scheme, maintain focus in key industry areas such as artificial intelligence and analytics, and have new focus areas such as ESG fintech, said Mr Wong.
More details about enhancements to the scheme will be released in the first quarter of 2023.
The Government gave two rounds of funding to the scheme in earlier years, comprising $100 million in grants for nearly 500 projects, and more than $200 million in funds from investors for more than 1,000 projects.
MAS also started a public consultation exercise on Wednesday on several initiatives to eliminate all corporate cheques by 2025.
Cheques accounted for 7 per cent of all payments through cheques, Giro and instant fund transfer service Fast in 2021, down from 32 per cent in 2016.
Mr Wong said the continued reliance on cheques has resulted in suboptimal business processes, and contributes to a relatively high cost of payments to the economy.
But he added: “Among the remaining individual users of cheques, we recognise there are some, especially seniors, who are still not comfortable with e-banking and e-payments. And we must not forget about them.
“To ensure that Singapore’s e-payment journey is inclusive, we will provide a longer runway for individuals to switch to alternative payment methods.
“This will also give us more time to consider the right solutions for those who are unable to adopt e-payments, and look into the necessary transitional support. We will study these issues carefully before consulting the public separately when we are ready.”
MAS and the Finance Ministry also on Wednesday launched eGuarantee@Gov, a secure digital process for businesses and individuals to provide a banker’s guarantee or insurance bond to government agencies within a day.
With the service, businesses and individuals no longer need to apply for a paper guarantee from a financial institution, collect it when it is ready and deliver the document to a government agency.
They can instead apply for an eGuarantee from more than 20 participating financial institutions.
The flagship Singapore FinTech Festival, which runs until Friday at the Singapore Expo, is in its seventh edition and back as an in-person event for the first time since 2019.
It is organised by MAS and not-for-profit entity Elevandi, in partnership with event management company Constellar and in collaboration with The Association of Banks in Singapore.
Participants from more than 110 countries and 2,000 organisations are expected to attend this year’s festival.