Innovation Challenges

Challenge Owner(s)
Allen & Gledhill LLP Amundi, ANZ Singapore, Aviva Investors, AXA Insurance, AXA Investment Managers, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank of Singapore, BBVA, BlackRock, China Construction Bank
, Commerzbank, DBS Bank, Euroclear, Firemark IAG, Hermes Investment Management, Janus Henderson, J.P. Morgan, KPMG, Moody's, Munich Re, Natixis, NN Investment Partners, Nordea Asset Management, OCBC Bank, Refinitiv, Robeco, SGX, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, Standard Chartered Bank, UBS, UNDP, UOB Group, Schroders Investment Management
Organiser(s)
APIX, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)
Industry Type(s)
Digital/ICT, Financial Services, Sustainable Energy
Application Start Date 8 June 2020
Application End Date 7 July 2020
Website Click here to learn more

About Challenge

The MAS Global FinTech Hackcelerator seeks innovative solutions for real-life business challenges. This year, MAS has published 107 problem statements collected from the global financial sector across 4 categories:

(i) Responding to a global pandemic;
(ii) Green finance solutions;
(iii) Green finance enablers; and
(iv) Sustainability

If your solution might be able to address one or more of the published problem statements, please send in your application by 30 June 2020.

 

Learn more

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated an unprecedented economic crisis that will negatively impact tens of millions of small and medium sized business (SMEs). Government bail outs will help where they exist, but will be inadequate in preventing short term unemployment, supply shortages, wide spread bankruptcies and damage to short and longer term damage to local and national economies.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated an unprecedented economic crisis that will negatively impact tens of millions of small and medium sized business (SMEs). Government bail outs will help where they exist, but will be inadequate in preventing short term unemployment, supply shortages, wide spread bankruptcies and damage to short and longer term damage to local and national economies.

Industry Types(s)Wholesale Trade

How might we improve global supply chains to respond better to systemic shocks and crises?

Industry Types(s)
Financial Services, Wholesale Trade

How might we monitor transparency and speed of disbursement of funds to the right cause, individual or entity to support and relief the strains on supply chains and micro-businesses brought on by a global pandemic?
Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

As more large teams work remotely, managers would like to find out how engaged their staff are and check on their physical and emotional welfare. Other than the traditional method of a video conference, how might we utilise data to enable remote tracking of employee engagement and mental well-being on a real-time basis for employees in the financial sector? This solution should also have the ability to be implemented in an office environment seamlessly. 

The solution should have the following features:

i. Enable data sharing with legal binding data agreements facilitated via a trusted secure platform to solve the complexity of multi-party data analysis, transforming manual governance procedures and patched-together analytics solutions into simple, online workflows. 

ii. Securely manage data sharing projects online with comprehensive governance, workflows, user access roles and audit dashboards. 

iii. All interactions with datasets are tracked and audited, reducing the risk of data misuse 

iv. De-identify and match datasets without customer personally identifiable information (PII). 


Industry Types(s)Financial Services

Reduced credit quality and increased government funding puts the global economy under stress. How might we promote the efficient use of credit according to new parameters and help banks or governments make timely decisions in areas such as relief, forbearance and liquidation?

How might we use an AI engine to summarise research reports from various sources, on either companies or themes like green or transitional efforts against a given set of accessibility and quantifiable criteria, to overcome manual and tedious consolidation of research reports for assessment purposes?

Banks and other financial institutions use a multitude of research reports from various sources. The task of consolidating research reports for consensus is very manual as there is no standardised format.

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we extend ESG and green signals coverage in small cap companies through the volunteering and gathering of information on businesses or products and structuring data inputs while still including information that proves transparency and thereby allowing deeper analysis by investors?

The solution should offer a complement to both traditional analysis that lacks coverage, and machine-learning signals often based on news which lack transparency and are reliable only for the short term.

Industry Types(s)
Digital/ICT, Wholesale Trade

How might we aggregate ESG data from public and private data sources, develop scoring systems under various performance criteria and share such data on a multi-user platform, so as to advance ESG practices, structure suitable ESG-driven Trade and Supply Chain Finance programmes and boost economic growth?

Sustainable Trade & Supply Chain Finance can play a material role in improving global supply chains, boosting economic growth and supporting poverty reduction. Trade and Supply Chain Finance can simultaneously be used to advance ESG practices and contribute towards the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Banks and corporations have had limited traction in implementing ESG practices across South East Asia, for example by setting targets for Trade and Supply Chain Finance programmes, and monitoring performance. Material challenges include the lack of widely accepted standardisation in ESG metrics and difficulties in aggregating relevant data from various sources to drive effective performance measurement. The data can be used by banks and corporations to structure suitable ESG driven Trade and Supply Chain Finance programmes.


How might we improve the benchmark for "mainstream" green solutions to enhance comparability?

The benchmark for "mainstream" green solutions are ESG ratings and scoring provided by for example external vendors like S&P, Moody’s and Refinitiv. To a large extent In terms of disclosures, companies will be measured and scored on how accurately and timely information are provided to relevant stakeholders (e.g., banks, investors and regulators).

Industry Types(s)
Digital/ICT, Environmental Services

Green finance is most often understood to be about climate challenges (e.g., reduced carbon emissions), but biodiversity challenges that impact climate change should also be considered. How might we help to quantify and embed biodiversity risks, opportunities and impacts (e.g., challenges to society like food security, risk of disease or pandemic) into financial decisions? The solution should improve measurement, financial innovations that deliver at the nexus of conservation and economic opportunity.

Biodiversity challenges directly impacts climate change (e.g., forests and oceans as carbon sinks), and directly threatens societies by undermining food security and the risks of disease and pandemics. Biodiversity risks/opportunities/impacts are hard to measure and are often considered immaterial to financial decisions.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

Physical damage to property assets caused by natural disasters can result in substantial insurance claims and lower the collateral value of bank loans. How might we develop green finance solutions that leverage innovation and technology to transfer or absorb increasing risks related to climate change?

Industry Types(s)
Financial Services, Food Manufacturing

The global COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of producing domestic food supply. However, financing of agricultural land and farming are relatively uncommon due to the security risks with no additional incentives such as decreased capital requirements for financial institutions.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

Green finance companies typically struggle to get funding although they generate positive impact on society and the environment. How might we utilise technology to create a rating system that takes net positive impact into account and integrate this rating system with current credit rating practices?

Industry Types(s)
Environmental Services, Financial Services

Although green financing is a relatively new area of financing in Singapore, financial institutions have to assume similar levels of risk as those of conventional financing. How might we enable the spreading of loan default risks to borrowers to encourage active participation from lenders in the green financing space?

Industry Types(s)
Energy & Chemicals, Financial Services

Renewable projects are typically smaller in scale compared to conventional power projects, which causes the financing process to be more time consuming and less cost-effective.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

A distributed generation business model involves portfolios of small projects which might be too small in size to secure standalone structured financing. How might we develop a securitisation market that allows banks or investors to take on risk of a portfolio of off-takers?

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

How might we create a funding platform that focuses on green finance companies to increase visibility and alleviate funding struggles (e.g., not having direct connections to institutions or individuals keen to finance green finance companies)?

Industry Types(s)
Financial Services, Food Manufacturing

How might we incentivise small-holder farmers to transition to more sustainable farming practices in combination with financial instruments, such as crop insurance and bank loans?

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

How might we effectively attribute and analyse returns and volatility of investments driven by ESG or climate/environmental decisions that are integrated into traditional investment processes? This solution should allow comparison of specific dimensions between ESG/SDG and traditional investment factors across funds when ESG/SDG inputs are not standardised across providers.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

Central banks have been slower to incorporate climate change risks in their investment frameworks. According to ECB’s Chief Economist Philip Lane, it is partly due to the lack of specific policies that discourage the buying of non-eco-friendly assets. A recent survey of central banks showed that almost all of the 27 respondents said they have already adopted sustainable and responsible investment principles in their portfolio management or are planning to do so, but the pace of adoption is not enough to make the needed impact. Today, sustainable or green bonds are not yet widely accepted as collateral by central banks, and have not fully made their way into financing activities (e.g., repo, securities lending and collateral management) either.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

Buyback timings and execution are not transparent. However, they are important and can be forensically derived. How might we build a solution that can forensically derive a new metric, Cash to shareholders, which is a long-term capital allocation measure that would add to global engagement efforts on ESG, long-term strategy and long-term capital allocation?

Industry Types(s)
Financial Services, Retail

How might we utilise a platform that enables investors and retail consumers to make sustainability considerations either in their respective (i) investment decision- making/SDG investment portfolio or in their (ii) sustainability consumption?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

How might we develop a true SDG measurement utility or measurement platform that banks can utilise to enable and promote SDG conscious investment and banking products?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

The proxy voting chain is a very important tool for the active ownership of assets and is a requirement of many stewardship codes globally. However, it is complicated and involves many actors and processes thereby exposing the chain to potential points of weaknesses. How might we create a solution that facilitates a voting system that is prompt and effective for global investors?

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

The general unfamiliarity to green bonds and other investment instruments contribute to its unpopularity amongst investors. How might we enable financial institutions to offer these products in a way that investors are already familiar and comfortable with, i.e., in a user- friendly, transparent and easy to understand method?

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

Due to their smaller ticket size, shallow market and the buy and hold mentality of some investors, green bonds are perceived to be more illiquid compared to plain vanilla bonds. How might we create a solution that will support the deepening of the liquidity pool, and ultimately increase asset turnover amongst investors?

The investment industry is clamouring for green securities, as pension funds, sovereign investors or family offices request for more environmentally friendly securities. During today’s financial crisis, demand for top-rated sovereign issuers will likely be high and the Coronavirus stimulus programmes might help to bring more government support to the market, raising its size and deepening the pool. However, for these sustainable investments to be widely appealing to central banks and sovereign wealth funds, the size of issuance and liquidity pool of the sustainable instruments matter. Investors may not feel comfortable taking positions on smaller tickets in a shallow market for fear of illiquidity, driving them to invest in safe, easily tradable HQLA instruments rather than on sustainable ones.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

Although there is a growing appetite for green investments, the goals of such investors are diverse and green financing projects may be structured to meet specific capital needs. How might we use technology to efficiently match the needs of green financing projects with the preferences of new investors?

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

Given the explosion in interest in passive investments, how might we build a robo-advisor that focuses on optimising a portfolio for both low-risk high-return profits from ESG- conscious equities, bonds, and indices?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

How might we enhance transparency around green finance related transactions (e.g., lending, insurance and capital markets)? How might we then use that to create more solutions and develop the green finance industry?

The ambition is to include standard and ‘certified/assured/audited’ ESG data to measure the performance of a loan, a policy agreement and/or a general capital markets transaction on a number of set metrics. The satisfactory fulfilment of the abovementioned will possibly result in lower interest margins, policy premium or capital requirements, thereby motivating and incentivising green transactions.

Learn More

 


Historically, climate change transition is considered high- risk. Unless engagement is enforced by regulators, banks often transfer these risks off their balance sheet. How might we build a platform to aggregate parties, i.e., individuals and businesses, who are interested in building renewables to an effective scale?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we streamline the process for corporations across jurisdictions without leveraging on IaaS capabilities and reduce the complexity created in our environment by the implementation of varying regulatory data localisation demands?

Regulators across jurisdictions have an increased focus on maintaining logical and physical control over network environments for corporations, introducing complexity and operational overheads to corporations covering a large number of jurisdictions. This may reduce overall data security resulting in productivity losses.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

How might we utilise technology to leverage on the strengths of global market players to bridge some of the fragmentation and create a cohesive global marketplace for sustainable finance?

As support for Sustainable Finance grows, numerous standard setters are working on developing individual frameworks while some stock exchanges have their own initiatives. This brings about fragmented marketplaces, commercial and regulatory initiatives around the world.


Starting the journey towards sustainable insurance for organisations can be a challenging decision to make due to the steep learning curve from drawing up a good view of the current situation to the various challenges and opportunities it can bring. How might we draw a quick, transparent and comprehensive picture of both financial and insurance risks associated with climate change based on the company's investment or insurance portfolio to help the organisation better understand where it currently stands, what the opportunities are and set, track and report objectives?

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we utilise technology to disaggregate a company's revenue into granular details to track penetration of green or impactful products or services and authenticate that the product sale was truly to an in-need beneficiary?

Learn More


A corporation’s ability to generate positive impact is through their supply chain leverage and direct operations. Considering that most supplier relationships are opaque and direct operations are not easily identifiable, how might we better gain visibility of a corporate's network of influence and impact?

Industry Types(s)
Digital/ICT, Wholesale Trade

How might we perform traceability sourcing of raw material production against best practice production guidelines to quantify environmental and social impact of global supply chains?


How might we incorporate the use of certifications, verifications or assurances to ensure that proceeds from green products (e.g., green bonds and loans) are used in accordance with its principles and standards?

Learn More


How might we compare country-specific and regional benchmarks across Asia Pacific for various local and international green building rating systems to ensure consistency?

There are many standards in evaluating green buildings, e.g., NABERS / LEED / BCA Green Mark / Green Building Evaluation Label. A model to compare country-specific and regional benchmarks would be incredibly useful to ensure the standards are consistent. Currently, it can be difficult to ascertain how less well-known or country-specific standards compare to the internationally-recognised schemes.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

How might we create a new measure of Total Stakeholder Return (TSR+) by taking into account the value it generates for stakeholders (i.e., employees, government, community and shareholders) minus the dollar value of negative green efforts (i.e., emissions and pollutions) to objectively quantify a company's total positive impact? How might we then build a technology that can analyse a company's financial statement and instantly calculate this new metric?

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

KPIs for Sustainability Linked Loans are not made public and are broad in nature. This makes it challenging for borrowers to test the level of sustainability of their loan. How might we develop a dashboard to input key KPIs for Sustainability Linked Loans, track the achievement of KPIs and benchmark the levels of sustainability and social and non-social impacts of the loans?

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we collect and process data from different data sources so that a more complete set of information can be provided on green financing and assist in the setting of standards in this regard?

One of the reasons why green financing remains a niche sector is the lack of common risk measurements, data standardisation and disclosure. This stands in contrast to traditional investment products and credit ratings.

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we integrate digital assets (e.g., carbon credits and green bonds), smart contracts and distributed ledgers to facilitate the sharing of data and information across borders with regards to smart contracts and the digital transfer of values?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we utilise IoT and Big Data to build smart recommendations for clients, based on their economic transactions, which can translate into immediate actions to help them optimise cost and lower environmental impact while creating economic value?

Learn More


Physical and transition risks are a challenge for investors to track. This is especially so in emerging markets. Traditional approaches based on European standards place issuers at high risk levels, creating a hurdle for international investors to build a diversified portfolio of issuers aligned with climate change risks. How might we create and track risk data relating to bottom-up country contexts which covers a sufficient number of issuers?

Physical risk metrics do not consider “issuer resilience” as a factor, leaving emerging market issuer scores based only on the level of exposure to physical risks (e.g., Energy sectors will have high levels of exposure to coal). Transition risks such as changing environmental regulations and consumer behaviours are quantitative and thus, much harder to gauge.

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

The solution should have the following features:
i. Cover relevant financial data about the transaction (e.g., ISIN, size,CCY, issue)

ii. Cover relevant non-financial data about the transaction (e.g., KPIs, Trajectories)

iii. Assessment of alignment with international / national standards to highlight missing information

iv. Generate factsheet on the instrument summarising financial terms and non-financial terms in a user-friendly way

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

One of the bottlenecks to accelerate finance for renewables is reliable data on the probability of solar and wind energy. How might we easily and reliably access available information in existing renewables (e.g., past analysis and performance), to utilise it for probability analysis in new credit and monitoring?

Learn More


How might investors efficiently search, compare and track listed issuers' annual emissions data and emissions-related targets (historical and current) as publicly disclosed in their annual sustainability reports?

The data should provide both aggregate emissions and intensity (emission/revenue). This data should also include carbon and water usage, and other relevant metrics applicable to the issuer’s industry, and ideally be comparable to the market average, peers in the region and globally to provide performance-related insight. Given most targets look at multiple years, each year’s data should track and provide achievements towards stated targets.

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we design an open-source data platform that allows investors and lenders to gain access to relevant social and environmental information from corporate reporters (listed and unlisted) and other data sources (e.g., Euromonitor and Bloomberg)?

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we quantify and streamline the information collection process on physical climate change risks, not only to help identify the likelihood of occurrence and the severity of the impact it can cause within an investment portfolio, but also to allow the investment management community to widen the integration of climate risk consideration into investment decisions?

Industry Types(s)
Logistics, Wholesale Trade

How might we integrate a company's supply chain and consumer demand data with climate and environmental science to assess both sector and business-wide transition to green and low carbon economy in order to systematically compare and engage with issuers?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

It is tremendously difficult to track financial commitments on climate action in a public and transparent way. How might we use smart contracts to publicise and decentralise the recording of commitments to the climate?


There are fragmentations in the reporting of group level sustainability which are reported at a corporate level while social 'needs' are reported at a local level. This causes current 'mapping' to SDGs to fail in capturing important regional dimensions. How might we utilise technology to solve this mismatch?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)
Digital/ICT, Environmental Services

When evaluating ESG products, the secondary opinion can vary based on verifier, region and the standard applied. Due to diverging ESG standards (e.g., EU Taxonomy, Chinese Green Bond Standards and Local Standards) and the lack of comparable and trustworthy data, investors often mistrust the data on sustainable finance and fear the possibility of "greenwashing" efforts by companies.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

Small to medium sized companies tend to have limited resources and capacities to report their ESG performance. How might we utilise technology to bridge this gap in the SME space? The solution can publish standardised impact reports for companies who lack the capacity to do so or for new financial instruments such as social bonds.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

Small to medium sized companies tend to have limited resources and capacities to report their ESG performance. How might we utilise technology to bridge this gap in the SME space? The solution can publish standardised impact reports for companies who lack the capacity to do so or for new financial instruments such as social bonds.

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we help companies that provide green solutions learn how to obtain, measure and publish data in relation to climate-related risks and opportunities? This solution should also guide companies in assessing, quantifying and disclosing the relevant data based on its geographical location, relevant frameworks and other company characteristics such as size, sector etc.
Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we utilise technology to effectively implement AML and counter the financing of terrorism checks and KYC processes on funds that are channeled from different parts of the world (including individual donations) to facilitate green, transition and climate financing?

Current screening procedures can be based on different criteria, for example, on pre-set ESG criteria which can either be global or bespoke, or having exclusion lists for sectors.


The cross-jurisdictional alignment in terms of policy making (e.g., definitions, reporting requirements and data privacy) is critical to ensure and secure a common baseline where green-pathways for different industries and geographies can be identified. For example, Singapore could take inspiration from the EU-green deal, and the newly introduced EU-taxonomy to align its definition on what ‘green’ means, to facilitate the transition to a greener economy.

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we source and streamline upstream carbon footprint data points, in order to increase the transparency of carbon footprint data and allow investors to better compare relevant carbon activity across companies, supply chain or products?

Tangible business KPIs that lead to historical carbon estimates, analysis of systematic robust historical trends analysis and forward estimates of carbon performance vs. peers will be beneficial to carbon footprint comparability across the investment universe.

Industry Types(s)
Digital/ICT, Environmental Services

How might we develop a tool that provides accurate and efficient insights of global deforestation at low costs and enables pairing to land ownership and/or customer data to allow investors to have focused engagement with owners and/or clients of that land?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)
Digital/ICT, Environmental Services

How might we gather and organise relevant, real-time carbon emission data at scale and market it as the industry standard in order for it to be readily applied for investment and risk management decisions? The data can be collected through IoT devices and satellites while blockchain can be applied to store unaltered and decentralised datasets to increase credibility.

Carbon emission and other pollution data tend to be scattered, non- standardised and non-transparent. It is challenging to source for these types of datasets at scale in a timely manner. Technology solutions that accurately identify emitters and precisely measure emission amounts would be useful for developing innovative green finance products.

Learn More


Industry Types(s)Financial Services

How might we increase accessibility of basic mobile banking services such as payments and loans to vulnerable parties such as migrant workers or individuals from low- income families who may not otherwise qualify for these services due to their inability to provide adequate identification or proof of credit worthiness?

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

How might we boost financial inclusion for migrant workers through comprehensive solutions (e.g., micro- finance, micro-payments, micro-pension, micro-insurance, micro-savings and micro-investments) that enable them to have better access to financial services?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

How might we boost financial inclusion for low to medium income families through comprehensive solutions (e.g., micro-finance, micro-payments, micro-pension, micro- insurance, micro-savings and micro-investment) that enable them to be have better access to financial services?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we utilise technology to help the financial services industry build resilience after a global pandemic, especially in the area of systems, processes, communication strategies?

Learn More


How might we expedite client feedback on Research Analyst reports to not only determine its value-add to investment decisions but also to streamline the process of addressing client queries?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)
Environmental Services, Financial Services, Healthcare & Biomedical

How might we utilise sensors to enhance the understanding of risks (e.g., diagnostics in medical applications, improved environmental monitoring and intelligent systems that are self-monitoring, self-correcting and repairing) and create new financial solutions?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

How might we facilitate the exchange of real-time pricing information between financial institutions and liquidity providers, particularly for OTC products and structured notes?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Digital/ICT

How might we monitor customer behaviour patterns during onboarding and servicing to gain broader transparency of a customer to enable more effective transaction  monitoring, KYC reviews and early fraud detection?

Learn More


How might we develop a comprehensive regulatory compliance solution that provides a bank end-to-end access to all applicable laws, rules, regulations (LRRs) across many different jurisdictions and banking functions (e.g., asset management, securities and banking), to automate the process of researching regulations and reviewing the status of compliance?

Learn More

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

The financial services industry in Singapore has greatly transformed thanks to technology. Most services can be carried out online, and this has proven to be crucial during times of crisis or a global pandemic. How might we use technology to enhance the mobility of business operations for financial institutions and fully digitise the provision of financial services while still taking regulatory requirements and cybersecurity concerns into account?


The solution should enable remote advisory for financial advisory agents to telecommute securely and seamlessly with their clients while still adhering to MAS regulations and regulatory compliance policies and standards. This can be in a form of a simple-to-use, real-time remote online meeting session solution for agents to remotely advise and close sales with their customers to do remote signing as well, without having to download any additional software on almost any laptop or tablet.

Industry Types(s)Financial Services

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many strategic and operational shifts within banks and Financial Institutions. Many of these shifts involve re-evaluating associated risks. Especially with large organisations, intensive effort is required to rapidly assess these risks and make the right risk-mitigation decisions.

Learn More