Singapore will soon have a new digital layer of protection against financial transactions used to fund criminal and terrorist operations, as well as the development of weapons capable of mass devastation.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which oversees one of the world's most secure financial centers, announced Friday it will introduce Cosmic, a data and information-sharing platform aimed at preventing money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation finance.

Cosmic stands for Collaborative Sharing of Money Laundering, Terrorism Financing Information and Cases.

Cosmic would enable financial institutions to securely share information on consumers or transactions that cross substantial risk criteria with one another in real time.

A MAS release disclosed that the platform was co-created by the MAS and six major commercial banks in Singapore: DBS Group, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, United Overseas Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank, and HSBC.

For the time being, the six banks will be the platform's sole users until a wider deployment in the first half of 2023 and the introduction of a regulatory framework that will necessitate some legal adjustments to regulations governing bank-client confidentiality.

In a statement, the Republic's central bank stated, "Such information exchange will enable financial institutions uncover and dismantle unlawful networks, thus helping to safeguard the Singapore financial hub."

It will also begin a consultation with the financial industry on Friday over the planned legal structure for Cosmic, which will be outlined in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2021, as well as the platform's characteristics.

All Cosmic participants will also be required by MAS to put in place effective safeguards against the illegal use and disclosure of Cosmic information. It will monitor financial institutions (FIs) for compliance with these regulations and take action against those that fail to do so.

Meanwhile, UOB is betting on a $368.6 million strategy to improve its digital capabilities and expand its retail client base in Asean to 7 million people.

It plans to achieve that goal by 2026, and part of its investment strategy will be to merge its digital bank and mobile app into a single platform.

With the global pandemic fueling the growth of internet services, the Singapore bank said that digital banking was now the preferred alternative for many of its customers.