International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) are working together to establish and develop their ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN).

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and MAS have signed a memorandum of co-operation. Through AFIN, they plan to establish a regional network to help financial institutions, fintech firms and regulators address issues of connectivity, local compliance and cross-border compatibility.

AFIN will also evaluate options to create an industry sandbox to provide a cloud-based testing environment through which banks and fintech players can develop, test and refine digital finance and inclusion solutions.

Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer, MAS, says it hopes this platform “could also spur discussions amongst participating regulators on cross-border policy harmonisation across ASEAN”.

This initiative has emerged from discussions between IFC, MAS and the ASEAN Bankers Association (ABA). The memorandum is the first step which will “also foresee ABA playing an important role in helping to expand access to financial services across the region”.

According to MAS, IFC has delivered 75 advisory projects in digital financial services, and has invested $400 million in close to 30 fintech firms and digital financial services providers.