US firm to base new cyber intelligence centre in Republic

RUMI HARDASMALANI
The United States’ Financial Services-Information Sharing and Analysis Centre, or FS-ISAC, will set up in Singapore its only cyber intelligence centre in the Asia-Pacific region, Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Ravi Menon announced yesterday.

Speaking at a conference held during the Singapore FinTech Festival, Mr Menon described the US centre as the “global financial industry’s go-to resource for cyber threat intelligence analysis and sharing”. The centre in Singapore will help its financial industry “better monitor cyber threats and provide better intelligence support”, he said. “It will also help deepen the capabilities of the cyber security community here.”

Mr Menon also announced that MAS, the Singapore Exchange and eight banks have embarked on a proof-of-concept project to use blockchain technology for inter-bank payments, including cross-border transactions in foreign currency.

Under the pilot, banks will deposit cash as collateral with MAS in exchange for MAS-issued digital currency. The banks can later redeem the digital currency for cash. Participating banks can pay each other directly with the digital currency, instead of first sending payment instructions through MAS.

The project “marks the first step in MAS’ exploration of ways to harness the potential of central bank issued digital currency”. Mr Menon said. “The next phase … will involve transactions in foreign currency, possibly with the support of another central bank.”

In the area of financial technology, MAS is also embarking on several other initiatives, including creating an “API economy”. APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces, refer to protocols that define how one system or application interacts with another, usually from the perspective of information exchange. They allow systems to interact with one another without the need for human intervention.

APIs “are likely to be one of the most important building blocks for innovation in the future economy”, Mr Menon said.

MAS aims to establish Singapore as a centre of excellence for APIs on financial services, he added. Yesterday, the financial industry, in partnership with MAS and the Association of Banks in Singapore, published an API Playbook which provides guidance for the standardisation of APIs, as well as on common and useful APIs that financial institutions could make available.

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