What's in store for financial regulators in next decade?

MAS managing director Ravi Menon framed his speech at the symposium as an imaginary address given in 2028.
MAS managing director Ravi Menon framed his speech at the symposium as an imaginary address given in 2028.

MAS chief: Evaluating reforms, technology and more supervision could shape agenda

The next decade could be an interesting period for financial regulators as they take stock of the reforms that kicked in after the 2008 global financial crisis, Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon said this week in a speech aimed at imagining plausible future scenarios.

They might find themselves enhancing supervision and grappling with cyber risk, he added.

Speaking at the Symposium on Asian Banking and Finance held by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on Monday, Mr Menon framed his speech as an imaginary address given in 2028.

Under that scenario, the coming years to 2020 could see regulators evaluating the efficacy and impact of reforms that were enacted after the 2008 global financial crisis.

While the benefits from the reforms far outweighed the costs, some possible areas worth examining could be trade finance, infrastructure finance, small and medium-sized enterprise finance and market liquidity, where reforms may have led to "sub-optimal social outcomes", Mr Menon suggested.

Regulators looking at these areas would seek to calibrate adjustments to ease constraints without significantly increasing risk. After that, regulators might shift towards enhancing supervision, with a focus on improving cross-border collaboration and managing the culture of risk.

It is possible, he speculated, that by 2028 regulators would have come together to establish "culture and conduct supervision" that includes sharing information on errant industry professionals.

Technology could also be a major part of regulatory work over the next decade. Supervisors could begin to use data analytics, sentiment assessments, and the tools of behavioural psychology to gain insights into the culture and conduct in financial institutions.

But cyber risk could also move to the forefront of the regulatory agenda of central banks globally, Mr Menon said. Setting of standards for distributed ledgers, making cloud computing services safer, and dealing with artificial intelligence will be plausible tasks for regulators in the next decade.

The challenge, he said, would be to keep the financial system stable on the one hand, while allowing the financial sector to innovate and grow, and serve the needs of the economy and society on the other.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 27, 2018, with the headline 'What's in store for financial regulators in next decade?'. Print Edition | Subscribe