Plenary Sessions

The Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit will feature four plenary sessions to discuss some of the major issues impacting financial inclusion in more detail.

A copy of the full draft program can be downloaded here.

Plenary 1: Financial Inclusion: The Changing Landscape in Asia Pacific

The concept of financial inclusion has leap frogged in recent years with the rapid rise of digital financial services, proportionate regulation, collateral registries, big data, new business models, creative collaborations and client-centric design, against a backdrop of rapidly changing Asia Pacific economies. These forces continue to drive innovation and evolve the financial inclusion ecosystem, with this shifting landscape challenging our view of what it means to be financially included.

  • How are changing technology, products and practices shaping financial inclusion and influencing patterns of economic growth?
  • Is financial inclusion access, payments or the ability to transact on line?
  • What are the big gains being made, and what intractable challenges continue?
  • What products and services are customers demanding, and how is the industry adapting and responding?

Mr. Gregory Chen, Head Policy, The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP)

Mr. Dean Karlan, Professor of Economics, Yale University; President and Founder, Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)

Ms. Vijayalakshmi Das, Chief Executive Officer, Friends of Women’s World Banking India

Plenary 2: Harnessing Change to Accelerate Financial Inclusion

The evolution of financial inclusion has been rapid and oftentimes unpredictable. Advances in disruptive technologies and business models and a growing focus on customer-centricity and financial behaviour will undoubtedly continue to play a role in shaping financial inclusion in the Asia Pacific. Against this backdrop, new players are emerging, changing the way the financial services industry operates and shapes the future of financial inclusion.

  • What new innovations in financial inclusion practice are needed to close this gap? Are there examples of best practices that can be scaled?
  • What type of collaboration between established and emerging providers lends itself to the new thinking on financial inclusion?
  • What actionable steps should established providers take in response to the big challenges and opportunities?

Moderator: Mr. Sean Preston, Country Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Visa

Mr. Shameran Abed, Head of Microfinance, BRAC, Chairman, bKash

Mr. Philip Course, Managing Director, Cullinan Group

Mr. Punnamas Vichitkulwongsa, Chief Executive Officer, Ascend Group

Plenary 3: Regulation and Supervision for Inclusive Innovation

The digitization of financial services offers important benefits for the excluded and underserved customers due to an increasing number of convenient and affordable products for payments, fund transfers, asset building and resilience enhancement. Beyond the benefits, digitization also introduces new challenges and risks, including related to privacy, agents, technology, and new market entrants. Supervisory agencies strive to find a right balance between those benefits and risks, while often faced with limited capacity to implement the four key policy objectives of financial inclusion, stability integrity and consumer protection. To cope with the challenge, regulators and supervisors have been testing various approaches, including regulatory sandboxes, innovation hubs, and fintech solutions for regulation (RegTech). In this session, we will discuss the role innovation plays in financial inclusion and the relationship between innovation and policymaking.

  • What innovation (in finance or technology) does hold a promise for financial inclusion and what kind of challenge does the innovation pose for policymakers?
  • What role should policymakers (regulators, supervisors) play vis-à-vis innovation and why?
  • What regulatory approaches exist to address innovation and what are the key principles on which those approaches are based?
  • How can policymakers leverage technology for their own benefit?

Moderator: Mr. Juan Carlos Izaguirre, Senior Financial Sector Specialist, Policy, The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP)

Ms. Pia Roman, Director, Inclusive Finance Advocacy Office and Concurrent Head, Financial Consumer Protection Department, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Mr. Vijay Chugh, Former Chief General Manager, Payment and Settlement Systems, Reserve Bank of India

Mr. Chou Vannak, General Department of Financial Industry, Ministry of Economy and Finance, Cambodia

Mr. Simone di Castri, Director, Policy and Ecosystem Development (BFA)

Plenary 4: A New Age of Collaboration

The digital age presents both rewards and risks to financial inclusion. New digital platforms offer convenient and less expensive ways to make payments and transfer funds, advancing economic growth by enabling asset accumulation and economic participation. But beyond just payments and products, digitization also introduces new challenges and risks related to privacy, agents, technology, and new market entrants. Supervisory agencies are now faced with an expanded mandate, which often times challenges their capacity to respond and create policies that will ensure financial systems are safe and sound while also promoting financial inclusion and consumer protection.

  • What model regulatory practices are responsibly balancing these goals?
  • How important is it that regulators understand and help to build consumer demand so that digital innovation in financial services can boost inclusion by presenting safe and useful services that are attractive to and accessible by the unbanked?
  • Where are there successful programmes that promote financial literacy and encourage the use of digital financial services? What makes them work?
  • How are providers of digital financial services being supported to experiment with and test new products?
  • How are innovations in e-money, agent banking, know-your-client rules and consumer protection enabling digital finance?

Moderator: Mr. Graham Macmillan, Senior Program Officer, Inclusive Economies, Ford Foundation

Mr. Manoj Sharma, Managing Director – Asia, MicroSave

Mr. Brooke Patterson, Digital Development Regional Advisor for Asia, USAID


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