Asia-Pacific Financial Services Insights - August 2019

Asia-Pacific Financial Services Insights - August 2019
Asia-Pacific Financial Services Insights - August 2019

Welcome to the latest edition of Protiviti’s Asia-Pacific Financial Services Insights. In this monthly newsletter, we provide a summary of important developments across the Asia-Pacific financial services sector, including those related to the ever-changing regulatory landscape.

It should be no surprise based on the quick adoption rates of technology across APAC, but 77% of consumers across the region prefer to bank digitally. The continued unrest in Hong Kong has hit yet another market segment, Singapore is getting tighter on cyber-hygiene and China’s Central Bank is looking to issue its own cryptocurrency. These are just a few topics that hit the news this last month. Please see below for more details on these as well as additional articles from across the region.


77% of consumers in APAC prefer to bank digitally

According to new data released by Forrester, consumers in APAC are some of the most advanced when it comes to digital engagement with financial services. Many customers trust payment firms and technology firms over traditional financial services providers to help them better manage their finances.

(Fintech News 07/08/2019)

APAC banks concerned about security of 3rd party service providers

According to a survey by FS-ISAC, banks are worried that attacks on payment systems could directly affect them by causing disruptions to capabilities of financial services, reputational risk and loss of consumer confidence.

(Finews Asia, 30/08/2019)

Hong Kong

Hong Kong insurance sales to mainland Chinese policy holder plunge

As Hong Kong protests continue, policy sales continue to fall. The decline is bad news for Hong Kong’s 70 life insurers, especially those niche companies whose entire business model is aimed at selling various packages of health, medical or retirement plans to mainland Chinese customers.

(SCMP, 11/08/2019)

Hong Kong's financial technology is getting traction

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has launched a series of initiatives to bolster the city’s status as an international financial center. At the end of last year, it started issuing virtual banking licenses.

(Hong Kong Economic Journal, 13/08/2019)


MAS announces new cyber hygiene rules from August 2020

The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that all financial services and e-payment firms in Singapore must follow a set of cyber-hygiene rules beginning next August, with Singapore's central bank stepping up efforts to strengthen the sector's defence against rising threats.

(The Strait Times, 06/08/2019)

Singapore steps up scrutiny of shell firms to combat money laundering

Valerie Tay, head of anti-money laundering at the MAS said banks had closed accounts of several onshore shell companies over the past year, after detecting unlawful transactions.

(Reuters, 13/08/2019)

Singapore expects new digital banks to start by mid-2021

Singapore plans to award licenses for its new digital banking initiative by mid-2020, with successful applicants expected to start business a year later. The U.K. and Hong Kong are among major economies that have allowed virtual banks, creating a new generation of rivals for traditional lenders.

(The Hindu, 29/08/2019)


China's central bank to issue own cryptocurrency as soon as November

China plans to issue its own cryptocurrency as early as Nov. 11, which is the country’s busiest shopping day for online sales. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been exploring the possibility of launching its own digital currency since 2014 to cut the costs of circulating traditional paper money and boost policymakers’ control of money supply.

(Reuters, 28/08/2019)

China banking regulator uncovers rule violations among smaller lenders

The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said lenders were found to have contravened rules by lending to undercapitalised real estate projects, to over-indebted local government platforms, and to firms found to have seriously violated environmental laws.

(Reuters 30/08/2019)


Bank of Japan now more likely to east further, economists say

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) is now willing to ease in response to risks of weakening momentum, rather than waiting for hard evidence indicating a loss of inflation momentum. Thirty out of 38 economists predicted the BOJ’s next move will be to ease.

(Reuters, 14/08/2019)

Japan to offer enhanced trade insurance to drive African investment

The enhanced insurance would fully cover loans to African governments, their affiliated institutions or private companies buying Japanese goods for infrastructure projects in Africa. Japan pledged $30 billion in public and private support for infrastructure development, education and healthcare in Africa over three years.

(Insurance Journal, 28/08/2019)


Australia central bank Governor says zero rate unlikely but possible 

Australia’s central bank said that the country’s benchmark cash rate could go as low as zero from 1% now and that policymakers were studying in detail regarding overseas experiences in unconventional monetary policy.

(Reuters, 09/08/2019)

Australian regulator promises big bank lawsuits by year-end

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) also said in a report that it planned to hire more analysts, investigators and lawyers to boost its capacity to probe and where necessary litigate against, market, corporate and financial sector misconduct.

(Reuters, 19/08/2019)

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