As Singapore transitions to Phase Two of the re-opening from 2359 hours on 18 June 2020, Financial Institutions (FIs) are allowed to resume more in-person financial services. While staff may return to their work premises and meet their customers physically, FIs are to ensure that their reopening meets the Ministry of Manpower’s requirements for Safe Management measures at the workplace.1
As repeatedly emphasised by the Ministry of Health and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the re-opening is to be done gradually and cautiously to prevent any resurgence of COVID-19 infections. As such, those who can carry out their work duties effectively from home should continue to do so. FIs and their customers should also continue using digital financial services and e-payments as much as possible.
The Circuit Breaker period and the Phase One re-opening have highlighted the importance of online digital systems for FIs. The financial industry has continued to function steadily throughout this period largely due to the availability of digital solutions and the quick adoption of such strategies by FIs.
This is in line with Singapore’s desire to establish itself as a world leader in financial technology. Over the past few years, Singapore has been introduced to Robo-advisors, Smart Wallets, and soon, digital-only banks. The occurrence of a global pandemic has only served to catapult the development and uptake of financial technology.
Needless to say, this trend is not without its perils. Along with the increase in financial technology comes the importance of cybersecurity. To ensure that such online services are workable and attractive, FIs must bolster the security of their systems and transactions. In this regard, FIs must also keep up to date and comply with the strict regulations imposed by MAS.
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