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​TechInSG V2.0 Summary

Published on: 23-Jul-2019

TechInSG V2.0 SummaryShort and sweet.

That was the comment from one of the attendees who joined the 2nd edition of the ACTS and SFA joint event TechInSG.

My opening address started 15 minutes late, the following 4 fireside chats and presentations went behind schedule and were slightly overrun, but thankfully the audience stayed backed for Patrick Tay’s (NTUC Assistant Secretary General)  keynote address and the closing delivery by Hock Lai (President of Singapore Fintech Association).

The majority of the members stayed throughout the afternoon event. 

It was really encouraging to see the support and enthusiasm from our ACTS members and partners alike. Totally heartwarming and my utmost gratitude!
As the discussions were held under Chatham House Rules , I shall attempt to provide a high level overview summary of the interesting and insightful conversations that took place during the afternoon event. (Do not fret, we did clear these quotes on the pictures here with the speakers)

Members were updated on SWIFT’s GPI payments and their developments in the cross border instant payment scene. Rahul related SWIFT to Voyager, the space probe that was launched in 1977 to study the solar system and which is still continuing so. Similarly, SWIFT which set out in 1973 is still continuing its journey to innovate and discover solutions for the financial industry.

We had the privilege to learn of their latest trial results and news on instant payments before many others did. The technology to deliver real time and instant payments is readily available and is not a hurdle. The actual challenge is how the stakeholders in the ecosystem, i.e Banks and FIs, are able to reconcile their current setup with real time transactions; and provide meaningful solutions to their clients.

Rahul’s stirling presentation attracted a flurry of questions during his Q&A session. Many were interested to know more about the possibilities and the actual results from SWIFT’s latest developments. 

Next up, was a session on RegTech moderated by myself with an excellent panel comprising of Chye Kit (Chair of RegTech Subcommittee at SFA and CEO of Cypnosis Solutions) , Guy Sheppard (SWIFT and member of RegTech Subcommittee) and our very own ACTS veteran Joseph Chua from Lenovo.

My persistent questioning on the possibilities of a central KYC utility was met with a robust response from the panelists who clearly understands the pain points of the corporate treasurers. (Treasurers are just a bunch of pragmatic, persistent and inquisitive folks who just wants to know why, what and how) They then neatly dissected the very complicated issues around the set up of a central utility; and buttressed the fundamental point – that for any cross border central utility to exist – it needs to obtain the buy in from multiple stakeholders originating from different ecosystems; and co-exist and co-operate on a set of common principles and consensus across different jurisdictions.

That is the real challenge. Again, the technology behind it is no longer an issue.

And then it dawned upon me, that sometimes, our friendly bankers do face and really share the same issues as corporate treasurers do – when it comes to KYC requirements. A point clearly shared by the audience, as we ended the RegTech session without further questions from the floor. 

The third session comprised of a presentation by Serene Ho (Director of NTP Office, Singapore Customs) and a panel made up of NTP partners and users. Ginnie Chin (CEO, Culum Capital), Shawn Chia (Finaxar), Bee Tin (MD, New Castle Engineering) and Rhyce Chng (Director, Unag Logistics) shared their difficulties in trade financing and how challenging is the manual processes that are deeply entrenched in their and counterparts’ setups.

Members learned about how through NTP, users’ painpoints were alleviated and tech solutions enabled SMEs to leverage on common solutions and resources to achieve higher efficiencies and better results. NTP continues to further increase its users, and expand its network of different solution providers. 

The final panel on Artificial Intelligence and Robotic Process Automation, was moderated by Wilson Koh (ACTS EXCO and Treasurer, Grab) together with distinguished panelists Stephen Hogan (ACTS EXCO and VP, DHL), Nitin Purwar (UiPath) and Neumann Chew (Senior Lecturer, Nanyang Business School).

Panelists dispelled the common belief that AI and RPA will take away jobs. With statistics and historical parallels, they opined that Tech will ultimately create more jobs than the ones it inevitably destroys. Also the panel discussed that with the advances of AI technology, tech solutions are no longer limited to shortening workflow processes and removing manual data entry, but are now deployed to advanced data analysis and its predictive capabilities are being harnessed.

Equally important are how the current workforce and organisations embrace technology and that the different departments and stakeholders within any organisation have a common vision and are aligned in their adoption of technology.

We were honored to be have Patrick taking time off his uber busy schedule and delivering a very relatable keynote address to our members. He touched on the need for PMETs (Professionals, managers. Executives and Technicians) to be ready, relevant and resilient and gave a comprehensive overview and outlook on the Singapore economy; and shared interesting snippets of his work. Most importantly, he graciously took questions on certain interesting matters close to our hearts. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to post them here. (A good reason for one to join the ACTS!) 

We were glad that Hock Lai managed to make it for the event. As the President of SFA, he is indeed a super busy and high in demand man of the moment. He shared his takeaway from the discussions in the event, and how he relates them to the findings of a recent CFO survey about the key challenges facing corporations.

It was a great turnout, and a great discussion and presentation overall. Perhaps, we should let the members tell us what should we talk about in TechInSG V3.0 in 2020?

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