Round-up: Regulatory and Company News

MAS fintech lab, IBM bank deal, R3 patents software and more

MAS opens fintech lab to foster innovation and help start-ups

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced that it will open a FinTech Innovation Lab inside the MAS building. The regulator said that the lab, called Looking Glass @ MAS after the novel by Lewis Caroll, will help the foster fintech solutions in cooperation with financial firms. It will also be used for consultations with start-ups on legal and regulatory issues, as well as a training and networking venue.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer at the MAS, said opening the fintech lab underscored how committed the MAS is to promoting innovation in finance. “Looking Glass @ MAS will serve as a platform for the FinTech community to connect, collaborate, and co-create with one another,” he added.

IBM cooperates with Indian bank to deliver analytics software

IBM India has made a deal with Mumbai-based IndusInd Bank to deploy its cloud commerce and predictive analytics solutions. The software will help IndusInd Bank analyse customer behaviour for improved marketing.

Sameer Gupta, head of personal banking and decision sciences at IndusInd Bank, said he hoped automated marketing and analytics would help improve customer engagement. The analytics software sifts through customer interactions that occur through the bank’s website, mobile app, call centres and physical branches to for real-time targeted communications.

Banking consortium patents ‘Concord’ blockchain platform

R3, a consortium of more than 60 banks created to pool resources to develop Blockchain technology, has filed its first patent for a new platform called Concord. The platform is designed to run smart-contracts internally and across financial firms.

R3 had unveiled a smart contract platform called Corda in April at an event organised by Barclays at the O2 Arena. Concord incorporates the Corda smart-contract platform.

While Corda is neither the first nor the only distributed ledger technology to make smart-contracts possible, it is unique because it does not distribute trade information throughout the entire network. Instead trade information is only available for the seller and the end-buyer. Financial firms are wary of the built-in transparency of most distributed ledger technologies, making Corda an attractive solution for financial firms.

Todd McDonald, R3 co-founder and chief operating officer said that he hopes Concord will be available to business users by mid-2017.

Malware targets German banks

German online banking clients are at risk of having their details stolen by malware. The culprit is a trojan called GozNym, the product of a recent collaboration between the authors of the two leading bank trojans, the Gozi and Nymaim trojans.

Limor Kessem, executive security advisor at IBM, said that the developers of the trojan were targeting 13 banks and subsidiaries in Germany. A trojan work by redirecting unsuspecting customers to a fake page and then collecting their banking details.

Kessem said that the scale and sophistication of the attack indicate that there is a well-funded organisation behind the attacks. “The project is very active and evolving rapidly, making it likely to spread to additional countries over time,” he added.

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