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Singapore Says They’ll Award Digital Banking Licenses By Year’s End

Singapore’s financial regulator is sticking to the original plan to award digital banking licenses by the end of the year, according to a Bloomberg report, no matter how tight the scrutiny is in China and the U.S.

The regulatory tightening going on in China “will not have an impact on the digital banks here,” Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said in a recent interview, Bloomberg reports.

“It’s not our job to try to guess what the geopolitical situation might be like, what actions might be taken by other countries with respect to some of these entities,” he said, according to Bloomberg.

According to Bloomberg, the MAS will take a “progressive” approach to the regulation of such bank licenses, with plans that don’t allow them to take deposits at first before gradually letting them operate more freely once they prove they can earn profits over time.

The digital banking licenses are highly coveted due to Singapore’s status as a financial regulatory hub. Among those vying for them are several companies and individuals that have faced troubles around the world as of late, such as Jack Ma of Ant Group. Ant Group had to shelve its highly anticipated IPO after stricter rules came down from the government. And ByteDance, another in line, faces hurdles in the U.S. in the form of lawsuits over the TikTok app.

Menon said there would be no favoritism, and that companies would not be “penalized” for any sanctions they might be under. The licenses will be given on a “merit-based” policy, according to him, Bloomberg writes.

In June, PYMNTS reported that the pandemic had made the MAS wary of possible changes to companies’ strategies, and so they introduced a new rule that companies had to talk about their plans and any adjustments made because of the pandemic before the MAS would make a shortlist.

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