The Asian Institute of Digital Finance launches at NUS to further develop Asia’s expansive digital finance network and sustainable business goals.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) launched the Asian Institute of Digital Finance (AIDF) on Friday, September 3rd at their Kent Ridge campus.

Announcements of the new research institute were made last November by Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat with the intention of expanding the potential of digital finance in Asia. The AIDF will be backed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the National Research Foundation (NRF).

At AIDF’s launch event on Friday, the Singapore Deputy Prime Minister, Heng, said “the AIDF has partnered close to 20 leading banks, FinTech and big tech companies, and other industry players to come up with master’s and doctorate programmes – which are open to graduates from any discipline. This way, the knowledge of FinTech can be made accessible to mid-careers from other sectors, as well as people from different backgrounds.”

The AIDF’s leading programme will be their Master’s in Digital Finance Technology, offering a multidisciplinary curriculum created to refine skills and knowledge in computing technology, data analytics and intelligence systems, digital financial transactions, as well as risk management.

Heng also mentioned progress being made at the AIDF on a “federated learning initiative”  to resolve financial institutions’ hesitance to share data, which will only improve credit assessments.

“Financial institutions can learn from the collective experience to develop better assessment models, particularly for defaults and debt recovery,” he continued,“This will result in more optimised credit assessments, reducing the risks for the banks, and lowering interest rates for SMEs with strong fundamentals.”

This Consortium is set to open by the end of 2021, with hopes of expansion throughout Southeast Asia to help SMEs facilitate financing.

Heng aded that the AIDF will also work to tackle other problem areas including Covid-19 related challenges and climate change, and they have already established a green FinTech partnership. They will be collaborating with Singapore-based iAPPS and CriAT, along with other NGOs such as the Zoological Society of London. They will work together to design scientific evidence-based methods to quantify green agricultural supply chain initiatives through IoT and satellite mapping technology.

Following this data collection, the AIDF will analyse these results to develop predictive models for other stakeholders and businesses.

“Banks would then have a practical way of providing concessional loans to support firms which are adopting sustainable practices,” Heng said. “This would in turn spur further investment in the environment and sustainability.”


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