"We can bring together the power of finance and technology, to help create a more inclusive society and a more sustainable planet," said Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), at the Singapore FinTech Festival and Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SFF x SWITCH).
Envisioning a vision to have every citizen and every enterprise digitally enabled and financially included, he highlighted four ongoing initiatives for the financial and digital inclusion of individuals.
The initiatives include pervasive electronic payments, affordable cross-border remittances, timely health insurance claims and holistic financial planning.
New tech platform to speed up health claims processing
On timely health insurance claims, he cited the pain points relating to making an insurance claim for hospitalisation.
“Today, an individual being hospitalised may face uncertainty over his claimable insurance amount,” he said, adding that hospitals have to access multiple systems to request for or provide information to different insurers; and some of these processes are still paper-based.
“To enable more efficient claims processing, we are building a technology platform to securely share data with patient consent,” Mr Menon announced during his address.
MAS, the Ministry of Health, and the Integrated Health Information Systems are collaborating with the insurance and healthcare sectors to build this platform. It will help to reduce duplicate claims, manual errors, and processing time.
A live pilot of the platform will begin next year.
Holistic Financial Planning
“Financial inclusion is not just about having access to financial services. It is also about empowering individuals with information and tools to make best use of financial services.
“Today, our personal financial information - our deposit accounts, investment holdings, pension statements, insurance coverage, and so on - is fragmented across multiple entities,” he noted.
Putting together the information is not easy, but a consolidated view of one’s financial portfolio is pertinent to holistic financial planning.
At the opening of SFF, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced the launch of the Singapore Financial Data Exchange, or SGFinDex for short.
SGFinDex is jointly developed by MAS and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group, together with the key retail banks in Singapore.
It will enable individuals to consolidate their financial information residing in different banks and government agencies.
This is only the first step. “We are working to expand SGFinDex to include data from the Central Depository as well as data from insurance companies to enable individuals to have a more complete view of their financial status,” said Mr Menon.
SGFinDex could well transform the financial planning scene in Singapore. Authorised financial institutions will have to compete harder among themselves to provide quality financial planning services to customers. It will empower and enable individuals to enhance their financial well-being.
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