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Jun 26, 2020

Our Green Shoots special on 26 June 2020 welcomed over 1000 attendees from a record 31 countries. The session featured two leading names in FinTech, Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Group and Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer of MAS, who discussed areas including:

  • How DBS' strategy has evolved over the course of the year and what the bank is doing to support its customers during this time of need
  • The opportunities and challenges of digitisation in the banking sector
  • The future of work and organisational blueprints
  • Financing the future: What needs to happen to get society back on its feet in 2021?
  • Sustainable finance

Poll Results

 Q&A with Speakers

Question: What are some of the process and cultural changes that DBS has had to make in order to adapt to the rapidly changing environment during this Covid-19 period? 

Response: Piyush Gupta: Our shift to digital has been in the making for the past several years, enabling us to provide our customers uninterrupted access to their banking needs when restriction measures set in globally. However, though we had a really good set of digital tools with 98% of our processes digitalised when the pandemic hit, the crisis provided us the opportunity to identify some missing bridges that prevented customers from fully fulfilling transactions online. To deliver on these last mile capabilities, we accelerated our digital efforts during the crisis and have since close these gaps.

Our digital transformation over the past years also included nurturing a startup culture in the bank. This proved helpful when Covid-19 struck, with our people able to pivot and adapt quickly to changes. Although the vast majority of our Singapore workforce worked from home during the Circuit Breaker period, there was no impact on productivity. The same arrangement holds true even with the lifting of the Circuit Breaker on 2 June.

For sure, Covid-19 will lead to greater flexibility in the work environment. That said, we do not belong to the camp that believes that the days of big offices are over. The right balance to strike, however, requires deeper study. DBS has set up a taskforce to look more closely into the implications of remote working on a number of dimensions, including productivity, organisational culture as well as risk and controls. While productivity has held up, this has been in the short term.

Over the longer-term, the impact of remote working on customer journeys, experimentation and innovation is less clear. In addition, it is important to establish the impact of remote working on psychology and culture. ‘What does it mean to be part of a single company? What is the soul of a company if enough people aren’t congregating together in common meeting grounds and workplaces?’ are questions that bear asking.

Finally, the implications of work-from-home on processes, controls and security also have to be studied. Our world will change but we have to work our way through what the new optimum is.

Question: With regards to Mr. Mohanty's point of digital infrastructure not exactly being a competition among countries, especially in Asia, if you think of it in terms of "rails" among these digital infrastructures. However, how do you skip over or play down the "national politics" for this to happen?

Response: Sopnendu Mohanty: My point was countries with d-rails can rapidly build innovative companies and connect with countries for e-trade.

Question: An example of open finance platform would be the UPI (Unified Payment Interface) which has changed the way India does payments. Do you see that being adopted in Singapore?

Response: Sopnendu Mohanty: We already have a UPI equivalent in PayNow and it will be opened to non-banks by end of the year. PayNow uses ID/Phone Number as the payment identifier.

Question: Thanks for the great session, as it was mentioned there had been 200% growth and humongous digitization investment in last couple of months, what's our plan to catch up on agendas like eDDA, eKYC for SME and Corporates?

Response: Sopnendu Mohanty: EDDA, eKYC for corporates are in the works.


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