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Creating viable, responsible, and inclusive banking & fintech ecosystems to unlock innovation faster


The financial services landscape is rapidly changing old patterns of operation are being disrupted by new technologies. Exponential technologies like hybrid cloud, AI, and quantum computing, are opening up a world of new opportunities for banks and fintechs alike to innovate and grow.

The fintech growth in Singapore and in the region is being driven by a mix of factors, from consumer demand for personalized digital interactions in all areas of their life to exponential growth of technologies. These technologies are enabling new players to enter the financial services market with disruptive business models to meet the expectations of customers who are more digitally native than ever. Singapore plays an important role in the global fintech industry. As the trusted hub for high growth and rapidly digitizing Asian markets, the diligence in developing an open, cross-border ecosystem is paying dividends. According to KPMG, as of June 2022, there were 1,007 operating fintech firms in Singapore. The number of fintech firms in Singapore remains the highest among SEA countries representing 67 percent of the total across the region which numbered 1,482.

To continue to evolve, the ecosystems need a mix of services to retain relevance to investors and users of the next generation of innovative services and aligned with the future drivers of change across sustainable finance and digital assets. Unlocking the fintech sector’s next phase of growth will require collaboration with partners that can combine deep financial services expertise with technological solutions that remove obstacles to new business opportunities with financial institutions. At the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) 2022, IBM highlighted three key announcements to support the growth of this sector:

IBM OpenPages with Watson adds IBM OpenPages ESG Management to its governance, risk, and compliance solution suite

IBM® OpenPages® with IBM Watson® is an AI-driven, highly scalable governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) solution that runs on any cloud with IBM Cloud Pak® for Data. Centralize siloed risk management functions within a single environment designed to help you identify, manage, monitor, and report on risk and regulatory compliance, especially in today’s changing business landscape. IBM commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study that evaluated the financial impact of IBM OpenPages with Watson on organizations. The study noted a three-year 218% ROI. This included $1.7 million in regulatory fine avoidance, $1.7 million in reduced risk management effort, and $1.8 million in avoided legacy solution costs.

IBM OpenPages with Watson now includes IBM OpenPages ESG Management in its risk and regulatory compliance portfolio. OpenPages ESG Management is a solution that brings together the governance, data model, business workflow, and analytics capabilities to enable organizations to manage their environment, social, and governance (ESG) program in an effective holistic manner.

KPMG, in a global alliance with IBM, has developed KPMG Risk Hub, an AI-driven governance, risk and compliance, and internal audit solution designed to provide clients with a holistic view of risk. Built on IBM OpenPages with IBM Watson, KPMG Risk Hub integrates information and data across all levels of the business through an interactive, cloud-based technology that helps enable real-time risk management. Using advanced analytics and artificial intelligence, the solution can help clients from across all industries to make informed risk-based decisions to enhance business performance.

Similarly,Citi transformed its critical internal audit with machine learning, NLP, and AI with IBM Watson® Discovery, IBM Cloud Pak® for Data and IBM® OpenPages® with Watson to empower auditors to better serve customers. As a result, Citi managed to transform the daily workflow of the bank’s 2,500 auditors with the help of IBM’s Data and AI technology.

IBM AI Governance: Driving trust in the adoption of AI Technology, Enhancing Confidence, and Fostering Innovation

Leaders of enterprises creating AI services are being challenged by an emerging problem of how to effectively govern the creation, deployment, and management of these services, throughout the AI lifecycle. These enterprises want to understand and gain control over their processes to meet internal policies, external regulations, or both. This is where AI governance makes a difference. AI governance drives control and predictability to help meet AI regulations and ethical concerns, and it can drive confidence even in these times of economic uncertainty. Automating the tracking and documentation of the origin of data, models and associated metadata and pipelines provides information for audits and addresses stakeholder, organizational, and customer concerns.

IBM AI Governance is a new, one-stop solution built on IBM Cloud Pak® for Data using automated software that works with your organization’s current data science platform. Included in this solution is everything needed to develop a consistent transparent model management process, capturing model development time, metadata, post-deployment model monitoring, and customized workflows. This new solution automates the capture of model metadata across the AI/ML lifecycle so data science teams can focus on other tasks, rather than model documentation. Data science leaders and model validators benefit from always having an accurate, up-to-date view of their models. Businesses benefit from the ability to scale and deliver transparent, explainable outcomes free from harmful bias and drift. IBM AI Governance increases the accuracy of predictions by identifying how AI is used and where retraining is indicated.

Model risk management is used in IBM AI Governance to identify, manage, monitor, and report on risk and compliance initiatives at scale. Dynamic dashboards provide clear, concise customizable results that enable a robust set of workflows, enhance collaboration and drive AI regulatory compliance across multiple regions and geographies. The solution provides API that can be used to integrate with industry regulations for compliance.

Currently, IBM is demonstrating the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Veritas toolkit integration with IBM AI governance solution that helps to comply with MAS fairness requirements at the same time provides a complete AI lifecycle governance tool for continuous monitoring in operations. IBM intends to collaborate further with MAS to build an SDK (Software Development Kit) that would further simplify the usage of the Veritas toolkit and IBM AI governance solution.

Extending data protection in the cloud to a broader ecosystem, IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Crypto Services helps to secure crypto transaction

Fintechs and financial institutions are rapidly accelerating digital transformation where they leverage the cloud for innovation to keep up with customer demands. Data security continues to be the focus area for enterprises in regulated industries, and it is especially important as they look to move sensitive customer data and workloads to the cloud.

With the adoption of hybrid cloud strategies and as they start using more than a single cloud service provider to best match their workload needs, operational complexity around data encryption and encryption keys become more significant. Managing keys in silos on-premises and across multiple clouds brings up challenges around demonstrating compliance, ensuring the right security posture with key usage, and maintaining data governance and sovereignty. A Gartner report suggests that security and risk management leaders must develop an enterprise-wide encryption key management strategy or lose the data.

To help these organizations protect sensitive workloads as they innovate, IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Crypto Services capabilities built on IBM LinuxONE are designed to give them authority over sensitive data, associated workloads, and encryption keys in the public cloud. One example is IBM ecosystem partner, METACO helps UnionBank Philippines (UBP) to implement its digital asset management services. UBP is deploying services on IBM Cloud Hyper Protect Crypto Services, in order to leverage the confidential computing capabilities of IBM’s digital asset infrastructure which are fully integrated with METACO’s digital asset orchestration system, METACO Harmonize. With this platform, UBP aims to expand and extend its digital asset services and create a safe and compliant environment for millions of Filipinos to custody and exchange digital currencies like Bitcoin, straight from their existing mobile banking app, without the need to open or manage separate wallet services.

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