MAS and Swiss government body to promote data connectivity for financial services

MAS has issued a joint statement with the Swiss State Secretariat for International Finance. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Swiss State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF) have issued a joint statement about their plan to promote data connectivity for financial services.

Both parties recognise the importance of sound regulatory and policy frameworks that facilitate cross-border transmission, storage, processing, access and protection of data in the financial sector. They are both committed to working together and with other countries and authorities to create an environment within financial services to foster growth and development of the global economy.

The aim of MAS and SIF is to promote consumer-focused, innovative, integrated, efficient global financial markets, while maintaining the stability and integrity of the global financial system. Confidentiality of customers' data and protecting personal information and privacy globally ranks among their aims as well.

"More specifically, the expanding use of data and information technology for the provision of financial services offers a range of benefits, including greater consumer choice, enhanced risk-management capabilities, and increased efficiency," said the two parties.

These developments could also pose new and complex risks for markets, as well as challenges for policy-makers and regulators.

"Cross-border data connectivity in financial services may support economic growth and the development of innovative financial services, and may benefit risk-management and compliance programmes," said MAS and SIF.

Data localisation may increase cybersecurity and other operational risks, the two parties noted. It would also hinder risk management and compliance and inhibit financial regulatory and supervisory access to data.

Both MAS and SIF seek to enable data flows, to allow sharing of information within financial groups or with business partners across borders via electronic means, as long as it is for conducting business under a licence, authorisation or registration. The two parties also support free choice of location for the storage and processing of data, as long as financial regulators have appropriate access to data necessary for fulfilling their regulatory mandate. Should such access be lacking, alternative means such be explored to grant access before being required to use or locate computing facilities locally.

Lastly, MAS and SIF seek to protect confidentiality of customers' data and privacy.

"Through regular consultation and exchanges, SIF and MAS intend to identify areas of collaboration and opportunities in international bodies for financial markets to further pursue these goals," said the two parties.

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