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June 29, 2017

Singapore regulator to allow banks to move into e-commerce space

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has proposed a set of rules that will make it easier for banks to conduct or invest in non-financial businesses including e-commerce.

Under the new proposals, banks will not require prior regulatory approval for conducting non-core businesses or acquiring major stakes in such businesses but will only need to notify MAS before doing so. The regulator plans to cap such investments to 10% of the bank’s capital funds.

At the same time, banks will also be allowed to operate digital platforms that match buyers and sellers of consumer goods or services, and conduct online sale of such products provided that they are related or complementary to their core operations.

However, banks will continue to be barred from foraying into some businesses including property development and provision of hotel and resort facilities, MAS stated.

The regulator plans to issue a consultation paper on the proposal details by the end of September 2017.

“Technological advancements have created opportunities for banks to provide customers with integrated financial and related non-financial services through digital platforms. The proposed measures by MAS will give banks more flexibility to serve the needs of their customers while ensuring they remain focused on their core financial businesses,” the watchdog said.

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