DBS resumes all business after MAS restriction ends; vows to keep focus on tech resilience

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) yesterday announced the decision not to extend the six-month pause on certain activities at DBS Bank, which has enabled the bank to resume all business from May 1, 2024.

DBS Singapore facade
DBS Bank says that since May 2023, the bank has been executing on a comprehensive technology resiliency roadmap to deliver a higher degree of service availability to customers. Photo courtesy: DBS

In a media release, MAS announced: “The Monetary Authority of Singapore… will not be extending the pause imposed on DBS Bank Ltd that was effective from 1 November 2023 to 30 April 2024, while the multiplier of 1.8 times to DBS Bank’s risk weighted assets for operational risk will be retained.”

The release explained: “The six-month pause on DBS Bank’s non-essential activities was to ensure that the bank kept a sharp focus on restoring the resilience of its digital banking services.

“While full implementation of the remediation plan is still ongoing, MAS notes that DBS Bank has made substantive progress to address the shortcomings identified from service disruptions experienced by its customers in 2023. Improvements have been made to its technology risk governance, system resilience, change management, and incident management.”

In response, DBS Bank said in its own press release yesterday that “the bank’s ability to resume non-essential IT changes and acquire new business ventures will not dilute its focus on strengthening technology resiliency and enhancing digital service availability”.

This release said: “Since May 2023, DBS has been executing on a comprehensive technology resiliency roadmap to deliver a higher degree of service availability to customers. A six-month pause on non-essential activities, imposed by MAS since November 2023, has enabled the bank to further prioritise attention and resources on addressing gaps in technology resiliency.

“In particular, to improve service availability and speed up recovery time in the event of disruptions, the bank has undertaken a number of key actions in the areas of technology risk governance and oversight, system resilience, change management and incident management. For example, the bank has:

  • strengthened independent risk functions;
  • simplified systems architecture, enhanced system redundancies for key services and reduced single points of failure;
  • tightened change management processes; and
  • enhanced its ability to more quickly identify incidents and resolve them.

“Several areas remain a work-in-progress. They include continued simplification and strengthening of the bank’s systems architecture; building deeper expertise in centres of excellence for critical third-party technologies; broadening the use of Artificial Intelligence to further strengthen change management; and creating more monitoring tools so as to be able to detect potential issues more quickly.”

DBS Singapore office at Ngee Ann City
DBS Singapore office at Ngee Ann City. Photo courtesy: DBS

DBS CEO Piyush Gupta said, “The pause has allowed us to reflect on the areas we needed to improve on, and to better address them. While progress has been made, we are committed to building on this further. In the months ahead, we will continue to prioritise resources to strengthening technology resiliency.”

“We will also dedicate management attention to ensuring that our efforts have sustained effectiveness. Our pledge is to ensure that innovation is well balanced with resiliency so as to meet our customers’ expectations for reliable, seamless and effortless banking,” added the CEO.