Green Asia

Singapore looking at using AI in fight against money laundering, says central bank chief


Mr Menon, 59, is MAS’ longest-serving managing director. He started his career at the central bank in 1987, taking on roles in monetary policy, econometric forecasting, banking regulation and others before being appointed managing director in 2011.

Prior to the MAS, he was Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Finance.

Mr Menon described his career at the central bank as “an exhilarating ride” with nary a dull moment. The work on upskilling the local financial sector workforce, for one, has been “deeply satisfying”.

“A lot of effort” went into identifying jobs that may be at risk and what can be done to upskill workers to take on new roles, he said. 

“Despite the rapid digitalisation in financial services that we all thought would lead to a lot of job loss … that, on the contrary, there’s been net job creation above our targets – that is deeply satisfying.”

The financial services industry transformation map, first launched in 2017, had targeted to create 3,000 net jobs each year but that was surpassed with 4,100 jobs generated each year from 2016 to 2020.

Mr Menon also noted the central bank’s efforts and willingness to take on an “early start” with fintech. 

From so-called sandboxes that allow firms to test their innovation in a loosely regulated environment before public release to an emphasis on promoting innovation within the industry, these efforts have given Singapore “a leading position” among financial centres, he added.

The outgoing MAS chief will be succeeded by the Manpower Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Chia Der Jiun, 52, who will be appointed managing director (designate) on Nov 1 this year and managing director on Jan 1.

As for his plans after retirement, Mr Menon told CNA that he is “looking forward to being gainfully unemployed” but hopefully, not for too long.

While he has “not landed on anything specific”, he wants to contribute to three areas he is deeply passionateabout – namely technology and innovation, social inclusion and cohesion, as well as climate change and sustainability.

Asked if being in politics would help him to further these interests more effectively, he replied that politics is not where he sees himself contributing.

“There are many ways you can contribute to human welfare besides being in politics.”

On whether he has been approached by any political parties, he said it is “not very material”.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Neo

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