Ravi Menon: MAS is a «Schizophrenic» Agency

MAS, Ravi Menon, innovation, versus, risks, 1MDB

Ravi Menon, head of MAS

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is a «schizophrenic» agency trapped between seeking opportunities and then worrying about the risk of them going awry, MAS' head, Ravi Menon, said in unusually frank comments about the regulator's role.

Ravi Menon, who has been head of the MAS since 2011, says the agency walks a tightrope between innovating to stay meaningful, and taking on unknown risks as a result.

«I weigh up more disaster scenarios than you can think of,» Menon told reporters at an event in Singapore recently according to «Neue Zuercher Zeitung» (in German).

Menon said MAS is constantly seeking opportunities to improve Singapore's financial center.

The city-state has been an active proponent of fintech firms through funding, light regulation and letting startups test their products in a contained environment before going live.

Identifying Risk Scenarios

Singapore could well lapse into irrelevance if it doesn't manage to get in front of new technology, Menon said according to «NZZ», but MAS is at pains to identify the risks attached to this.

He said MAS staff had worked intensively on scenarios such as Brexit and a dramatic drop in oil prices in the past, and is currently looking into what a sharp drop in growth in China would mean for Singapore's banks.

Menon didn't address 1MDB, a Malaysian state fund which stands accused of pilfering billions of dollars using Singapore's banks as a «pass-through» for other offshore destinations.

 

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