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FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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MAS to enforce new data collection rules

It aims to reduce data duplication and automate financial institutions’ submissions.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today unveiled the roadmap to transform its data collection approach from financial institutions. According to a statement, it includes measures to progressively reduce duplication and automate data submission by financial institutions, which will take effect from 31 March 2018.

“This will help financial institutions reduce the resources and preparation time needed to produce data requested by MAS. It will also make it more efficient for MAS to process and analyse the data collected,” MAS said.

Firstly, MAS will enforce data reusability in its data collection approach and ensure that financial institutions will not submit the same data to MAS twice. Data reusability refers to the ability to use data collected once for multiple purposes.

MAS added, “Financial institutions will be allowed to decline any request from MAS for structured data that they have previously provided in their regular regulatory submissions to MAS. MAS will extend this treatment in subsequent phases, to other data submitted to MAS through surveys and one-off requests. The aim is to eliminate all duplication in data requests by the end of 2019.”

Moreover, all new regulatory returns from financial institutions to MAS from 1 April 2018 onwards will have to be in formats that can be processed by computers. The machine-readability format will be extended to new surveys and ad-hoc data requests from 2019 onwards.

MAS noted that collecting machine-readable data is a key element of its plans to automate its data collection process. “Automated data collection will increase efficiency by removing the need for manual processes and reduce the risk of human errors. MAS will seek feedback from financial institutions on providing data in the machine-readable templates prior to 2019 and take into account this feedback before the second phase of implementation,” it said.

MAS will also change how it defines its data requirements. “For data that can be aggregated in different ways, MAS intends to collect more detailed data on the underlying transactions instead of the aggregate statistics. For example, instead of asking banks to submit separate statistics on loans extended to each industry and in each country, MAS might ask for each loan labelled with the industry and country that the loan is associated with,” it added.

This enables MAS to manipulate the datasets internally according to its analytical needs while reducing the reporting burden on financial institutions, the agency said, “MAS is working with the industry to determine the appropriate levels of granularity in its data collection.”

MAS chief data officer David Hardoon said, “MAS is doing a fundamental review of its data collection approach. We will implement these measures in close partnership with the financial industry within a reasonable timeframe. MAS will also upgrade our data collection infrastructure to support these changes. This is an opportunity for both MAS and financial institutions to co-create an industry data collection platform that not only benefits MAS as a regulator, but also allows financial institutions to leverage the data collected to improve their operations.”  

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