The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it plans to “consolidate” existing legislation that applies to payment systems, stored worth facilities and remittance businesses and create a recent combined “activity and risk-based regulatory framework”.

The changes will account for a “blurring” of the lines between remittance and payments brought about by advances in technology, including financial technology, it said.

“A more calibrated regulatory regime, applied on an activity basis to payment service providers, rather than specific payment systems, would grant MAS to better address specific issues such as consumer protection, access and corporate governance,” MAS said. “It would also grant MAS the flexibility to address emerging risks such as cyber security, interoperability, technology, and money laundering and terrorism financing. It is envisioned that activity-based regulation of payment service providers would build public confidence and encourage the operate of electronic payments.”

Whilst businesses will possess to apply to lug out specific payment-related activities below the recent framework, the recent regulatory regime will no longer require firms to obtain “multiple licences” to conduct those activities, MAS said. varied payment activities include issuing, acquiring, operating payment platforms, account aggregation and storing funds on digital wallets.

Technology law expert Bryan Tan of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint venture partner of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind, said: “A harmonised payments regulatory framework would be very much welcome as each regulated area has developed on its own, resulting in some anxiety from multi-operate e-wallet providers. It would also provide regulatory parity between products.”

A recent National Payments Council (NPC) will be established in Singapore as portion of the proposed reforms, MAS said. It said the NPC’s role will be “to foster innovation, competition and collaboration in the payments industry” and “serve as a forum where stakeholders from both the provide-side and demand-side of the payments ecosystem can be heard”. MAS said it will glance to the NPC to address issues such as interoperability and the development of common industry standards.

“MAS expects the NPC to coordinate and drive strategic changes which are aligned to the economy and national initiatives,” MAS said. This includes payment-related initiatives that align with the Singapore government’s ‘smart nation’ plans, it said.

MAS deputy managing director, Jacqueline Loh, said: “Payments is unit of the answer components of fintech and serves as a foundation for our vision of a smart financial centre. This public consultation is an important step for MAS and the payments industry to co-create the future of Singapore’s payments landscape; unit where payments are swift, simple, and secure, supported by streamlined regulation and inclusive governance.”

Separately, MAS also announced the opening of a recent ‘fintech innovation lab’. The centre, named ‘Looking Glass @ MAS’, has been established to aid businesses and MAS to test financial technology innovations and grant begin-ups to consult with industry experts on “legal, regulation, and business-related matters”, for example.

The facility, which is located within MAS headquarters, will also “provide a venue for relevant training sessions and networking activities for the fintech community”, it said.

“MAS has been encouraging financial institutions to anchor their innovation labs in Singapore,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at MAS. “We are pleased to unseal our own fintech innovation lab, underscoring MAS’ commitment to promoting a culture of innovation in the financial sector. Looking Glass @ MAS will serve as a platform for the fintech community to connect, collaborate, and co-create with unit another.”

In June, MAS proposed a ‘regulatory sandbox’ that aims to grant financial services firms, technology companies and other “non-financial players” in Singapore to test recent financial technology products and services in an environment where some regulatory requirements are relaxed.

A ‘fintech bridge’ between the UK and Singapore was announced in May. The deal will involve the sharing and operate of information on “financial services innovation” by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and MAS.

As portion of the deal, the FCA and MAS possess place in place a “regulatory cooperation agreement”. The agreement is designed to aid companies win authorisation for recent financial technology products, services and business models in both jurisdictions.