- Published on Monday, 20 March 2017 19:07
KUALA LUMPUR -- Malaysia needs to produce more companies to provide financial technology (fintech) solutions that are not only available locally but also in other emerging markets, particularly within the Association of South-East Asian Nations, said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
Chairman of the BNM's Financial Technology Enabler Group, Aznan Abdul Aziz, said it has been almost a year since the central bank set up the group.
"In that short period we are starting to observe attitude shifts. However, much is still desired and that there is genuine need for a paradigm shift.
"We must embrace technology and at the same time be mindful of the challenges that come with it. I call upon all of us to have a change in attitude in adapting to the rapidly-changing fintech industry," he said at the opening of the Finnovasia KL 2017 here today.
He said Malaysia was uniquely-positioned to be a testbed for innovative fintech solutions for emerging markets and there were few factors that gave Malaysia the comparative advantages.
Among the advantages included Malaysia’s leadership in strategic areas such as Islamic finance and financial inclusion, he said.
"We are ranked highly among the top countries for the development of Islamic finance and we have also been recognised for our passion and commitment to advance financial inclusion agenda.
"This would naturally translate into our focus and support to fintech innovations that are tailored to serve this agenda," he said.
Aznan said Malaysia’s consumer profiles and challenges were similar to those in other emerging markets.
"The country is a middle-income country with respectable gross domestic product growth of four-five per cent and sizeable population of approximately 30 million people with high mobile and Internet penetration," he said.
As such, Malaysia provided an ideal fintech consumer base, he said.
He said there was strong and holistic support from key stakeholders in driving not only the fintech ecosystem, but also e-commerce and small and medium entrepreneurship.
"The bank collaborates with other competent authorities, Securities Commission and Malaysia Digital Economy Corp, to provide enabling infrastructure and conducive regulatory framework for a vibrant fintech landscape.
"All these factors put together make Malaysia an ideal ground for fintech companies to test and validate their solutions before moving on to a bigger market," he said.
The bank, he said, was exploring several critical enablers to provide the enabling infrastructure and the framework to maximise opportunities while minimising risks to financial stability and consumers.
These included facilitating the creation of centralised digital identity to allow for effective and efficient management of customer due diligence and knowing the customer process, he said.
He said it also included in enabling the use of cloud computing to allow for efficient and secure storage of data without compromising data security.