Initiative to promote responsible AI use in finance sector

A new initiative is under way to help financial institutions promote the responsible adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics.

Veritas, as the initiative is called, will allow institutions to evaluate their AI-and data analytics-driven solutions against the principles of fairness, ethics, accountability and transparency.

These principles were devised by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the financial industry last year.

Veritas aims to provide financial institutions with a verifiable way to incorporate the principles into their AI and data analytics solutions.

It will comprise open source tools that can be applied to different business lines, such as retail banking and corporate finance, and in different markets.

Mr David Hardoon, special adviser (artificial intelligence) at MAS, said: "With Veritas, financial institutions will have the guideposts and toolkit to institute sound AI governance practices.

"This will pave the way for a vibrant and responsible AI-driven financial centre in Singapore."

The initiative, which forms part of Singapore's national AI plan, was announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat at the Singapore FinTech Festival and Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SFF x Switch) conference yesterday.

He said at the event: "AI has the potential to transform financial services, but must be used in a safe and responsible manner."

The Veritas consortium has 17 members, including MAS and 14 financial institutions.

It will report on its findings and conclusions later next year.

GUIDANCE ON SOUND PRACTICES

With Veritas, financial institutions will have the guideposts and toolkit to institute sound AI governance practices. This will pave the way for a vibrant and responsible AI-driven financial centre in Singapore.

MR DAVID HARDOON, the Monetary Authority of Singapore's special adviser (artificial intelligence), on the new initiative.

Interested organisations are welcome to participate in the consortium.

Meanwhile, MAS managing director Ravi Menon said yesterday that the authority will restart its effort to launch a centralised electronic know-your-customer project.

"We are taking another crack at it," said Mr Menon during a press conference to launch the Bank for International Settlements' (BIS) innovation hub in Singapore.

"With the BIS innovation hub centre here, I think it's a wonderful opportunity to see how this... can dovetail with the work that the centre will be doing."

BIS has established one of its first innovation hubs outside of Switzerland in Singapore, with the hub to focus on public digital infrastructures and a platform connecting regulators to technology solutions for a start.

The hub, which was launched yesterday on the sidelines of the SFF x Switch conference, will work on setting up a framework for public digital infrastructures on identity, consent and data sharing.

This is a "foundational public good" to bring about inclusive financial services through digital means, BIS said in a joint statement with MAS.

The second project is to create a digital platform for supervisory tech, or suptech, solutions. With this platform, central banks can try to solve regulatory problems by sourcing solutions from the fintech community.

Dubbed the bank for central banks, BIS works to promote global monetary and financial stability through international cooperation.

It is also setting up a hub centre in Hong Kong and said more will be added across the Americas and Europe in the second phase of implementation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2019, with the headline 'Initiative to promote responsible AI use in finance sector'. Print Edition | Subscribe