Asia-Pacific: The API-Based Treasury

Real-time payments and APIs are driving a treasury services revolution for banks across Asia-Pacific.

Singapore’s leading position as a host to treasury centers made it a hub for application programming interfaces and, potentially, the host of a real-time revolution in the Asia-Pacific region. APIs are enabling banks to customize their treasury solutions.

“One of the perennial challenges for treasury has been accurate cash forecasting,” says Ricky Kaura, head of transaction banking, East Asia, at Standard Chartered. “This pain point is highlighted repeatedly in our discussions as well as external benchmarking studies. The introduction of real-time digital payment platforms across Asia Pacific is changing the landscape and facilitating the re-engineering of cash and treasury management processes.”

Adoption of APIs has accelerated throughout the region, he notes, and “real-time cash movement is also allowing many clients to connect directly to their underlying consumers; and many business-to-customer solutions and use cases have emerged.”

DBS Bank currently has 179 APIs tailored for institutions. “Clients are increasingly seeking automated end-to-end solutions that are customized and integrated with their banking partners,” says John Laurens, group head of Global Transaction Services. DBS can connect and tightly integrate into clients’ various systems. DBS worked with one of its insurance clients, for instance, to allow instant premium collection and real-time claims payout to consumers. “In any industry where there are large distributors, enabling last-mile digital collection instead of cash and checks from their retailers with end-to-end reconciliation is crucial.”

DBS has also launched what it says is an industry-first solution to transform largely cash and paper intensive business-to-business payments and collections for small to medium-size enterprises in Singapore, powered by DBS’s APIs.

Other industries where the bank has helped simplify clients’ businesses include real estate, where a digital collection mechanism with a real-time credit notification enables speedy, on-the-spot issuance upon purchase of a property. “This was a differentiating value proposition for our client,” says Laurens.

Standard Chartered, too, has been active, not only helping clients create a strategic blueprint and manage implementation, but also advising on process reengineering to facilitate the new digital and real-time solutions. The bank is Ant Financial’s core partner bank for its new blockchain cross-border remittance solution. Static or dynamic QR codes are also scaling, Kaura says. Each jurisdiction’s real-time payment system has different features, he adds. Standard Chartered’s global gateway provides consistent connectivity across the region and across systems.

Money market funds continue to grow in Asia, and HSBC Global Asset Management’s clients benefit from liquidity products in 11 currencies globally. HSBC’s Liquidity Management Portal, which includes a dashboard, allows clients to self-manage their liquidity, funding and investment decisions.

Now, bank clients can harness the data they capture to improve service for their own clients. Standard Chartered’s clients “are also more comprehensively capturing and using the intelligence from the data from these use cases,” Laurens says, “and analytics are helping power real-time dashboards. This also allows innovative new solutions to enhance the experience of our client’s client.”


Best Overall Bank for Cash Management Standard Chartered
Best Bank for Liquidity Management DBS
Best Bank for Payments and Collections DBS
Best Provider of Short-Term Investments/Money Market Funds HSBC Global Asset Management