Asia-Pacific Financial Services Insights - March 2020

Asia-Pacific Financial Services Insights - March 2020

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

As the coronavirus continues to dominate news cycle, we’re leading off this month’s issue with some of the latest headlines highlighting the virus’ influence on the financial services industry across the region including economic impacts, currency slides, reduction in exports and consumption, and proposed financial support measures.

Trending Coronavirus News Across APAC

Coronavirus could knock USD 211 Bn off APAC economies, Japan most vulnerable

The fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak could knock USD 211 Bn off the combined economies of the APAC region, with japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia among the most exposed, according to S&P Global Ratings. 

(Business Standard, 06/03/2020)

Financial system remains steady despite ‘shocks’ of coronavirus, protests, say HKMA

Hong Kong’s currency has slipped from a recent three-year high as the deadly coronavirus outbreak unfolded, but the city’s de facto central bank insists the financial system remains stable despite the epidemic’s heavy toll on the economy.

(SCMP, 02/03/2020)

Australian government stimulus package promises financial support ‘as fast as possible’

The Morrison government proposes the tax and transfer system to get financial support to Australian households as quickly as possible as part of a looming stimulus package to counter the negative economic impact of the coronavirus. 

(The Guardian, 09/03/2020)

Bank of Japan’s Kuroda offers bleak view on economy, warns of damage from coronavirus

Japan’s economy had been expected to recover in the current quarter, but the epidemic has hurt exports and consumption through a decline in Chinese tourists, Kuroda told parliament.

(Reuters, 04/03/2020)


Singapore to get digital banks

With up to five licenses on offer from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, digital bank players with access to vast consumer behavioural data (e.g., e-commerce players) and artificial intelligence platforms are likely to partner with incumbent banks or technology companies to acquire and grow their customer relationships.

(Legal Business Online, 05/02/2020)

Singapore leads APAC in open banking

A new report from the Emerging Payments Association Asia highlights Singapore as an early adopter and leader of open banking and APIs in the region. The report also notes the positive progress in open banking being made Hong Kong and Australia.

(FinTech News, 28/02/2020)


Deutsche Bank renews partnership with SimCorp to deliver fund services across APAC

Renewal of partnership allows Deutsche Bank to deliver integrated fund services solutions, using SimCorp Dimension, to its clients across APAC. Agreement will cover 12 markets and support growth in the APAC region.

(BobsGuide, 06/02/2020)

Mobile financial services take the APAC market by storm

New report covers the growth of retail banking and Fintech applications and solutions focusing on emerging markets, including China, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and South Korea, revealing that APAC is the world leader in financial app usage.

(Money Control, 20/02/2020)

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Banking Sector Review

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority released its 2019 year-end banking sector Review highlighting their outlook for trends, risks and work priorities in 2020.

(HKMA, 17/01/2020)

Hong Kong banks compare pandemic stress test with epidemic reality

Last October, nearly four dozen banks in Hong Kong confronted a nightmare "stress test" scenario: a pandemic that swept through the city, followed by a major cyberattack and a telecoms breakdown. Now those banks are using lessons learned from that stress test to respond to the current situation.

(Channel News Asia, 13/02/2020)


Central Bank gives green light to Mastercard’s China Joint Venture (JV) for clearing business

China’s central bank announced that it has approved an application by Mastercard’s China JV to conduct bank card clearing operations in the country. The approval, made with China’s banking regulator is example of China opening up its financial industry, and increasing supply-side reforms in the sector.

(Reuters, 11/02/2020)

China’s central bank issues 30 Bn of Yuan bills in Hong Kong

China's central bank announced the issuance of 30 Bn of Yuan (est. 4.3 Bn USD) bills in Hong Kong. The issuance was well-received by investors in the offshore markets of many countries and regions in Europe, North America and Asia.

(Xinhua Net, 13/02/2020)


Japan’s central bank looks to Europe for guidance on China’s digital yuan

A “think tank” comprised of central bank top execs across the global will meet for the first time in mid-April where Japan, as the only Asiatic member, will seek to address their growing concerns over China’s proposed plans to issue digital yuan and potential impact to the Japanese economy as a result.

(TNW, 06/02/2020) 

Over 1,400 Japan Post workers improperly sold insurance products, probe finds

An in-house investigation found salesclerks committed a total of 1,761 violations of the law or internal rules with similar violations suspected to have been involved in 6,690 other contracts. The Financial Services Agency and the internal affairs ministry ordered Japan Post Insurance to suspend sales activities until the end of March 2020.

(Japan Times, 27/02/2020)


Australia’s central bank looks to rid Visa and Mastercard of debit payments edge

The central bank announced that banks must stop automatically directing debit card payments through the two global networks, and instead give retailers the cheaper option to use local network EFTPOS.

(Channel News Asia, 05/02/2020)

Australia’s regulator flags new internal bank stress-testing framework

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority said the new internal testing framework would be developed at the same time as the regulator moves to its own annual stress-tests from the previous three-yearly checks.

(Reuters, 21/02/2020)


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Nigel Robinson, Protiviti Singapore
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