Monetary Authority of Singapore unveils roadmap to transform its data collection approach

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today unveiled the roadmap to transform its data collection approach and requests to financial institutions.

The roadmap includes measures to progressively reduce duplication and automate data submission by financial institutions.

Dr David Hardoon, Chief Data Officer of MAS, 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,” Dr Hardoon said.

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.

“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,” Dr Hardoon added.
Credit: Monetary Authority of Singapore

The following measures will take effect from 31 March 2018:

Non-Duplication of Data Requests

To ensure that the data collected is managed and used effectively, MAS will enshrine data reusability in its data collection approach and ensure that financial institutions need not submit the same data to MAS twice.

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.

From 31 March 2018, regulated entities will be granted the right to reject any request from MAS for structured data that they have previously provided to us in an MAS administered regulatory return.

The right to rejection will be limited as follows:

(a) It only applies to data requested and given to MAS after 31 March 2018. If regulated entities had provided the data to MAS prior to 31 March 2018, they will have to submit it again if so requested.

(b) It does not apply to data requested under existing regulatory returns. MAS will phase out the collection of overlapping data in regulatory returns as they are updated. In the interim, regulated entities may not refuse to fill out certain sections of existing regulatory returns that they think overlap with other returns.

(c) It only applies to requests for exactly the same data.

(d) If MAS is prohibited from using the data for the purpose of the new collection by law or contractual clauses, MAS may have to collect the data again.

(e) If regulated entities wish to exercise the right to reject MAS’ data request, they must prove within 14 calendar days of the submission deadline that they had previously submitted the data.

Machine Readability of Data Submissions

Collecting machine-readable data is a key element of MAS’ 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.

All new regulatory returns from financial institutions to MAS from 1 April 2018 onwards will have to be in machine-readable formats, i.e. in a form that allows data to be automatically read and processed by computers.

Machine-readable templates will include both partially machine-readable formats, such as MS Excel-based files, and more fully machine-readable formats, such as CSV files. Regulated entities may only submit data using these templates. This will not apply to data collected under existing regulatory collections.

The machine-readability format will be extended to new surveys and ad-hoc data requests from 2019 onwards.

From 31 March 2018, submission templates in machine-readable format will apply to new regulatory collections that meet all of the following criteria:

(a) Contains only structured, alpha-numerical data.

(b) Contains only data that exists in electronic form.

(c) Issued under an MAS-administered legislation on or after 31 March 2018.

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.

Granular Data Collection

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.

This enables MAS to manipulate the datasets internally according to its analytical needs while reducing the reporting burden on financial institutions.

MAS is working with the industry to determine the appropriate levels of granularity in its data collection.

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