The SFC, HKMA, IA and MPFA are encouraging FIs to adopt iAM Smart in their businesses for customer authentication, document signing, and remote onboarding.
Hong Kong’s OGCIO (Office of the Government Chief Information Officer) has announced the launch of iAM Smart, which provides all Hong Kong residents with a single digital identity and authentication method to conduct government and commercial transactions online.
iAM Smart has been a key infrastructure projects for the Hong Kong government as part of its ‘Smart City’ initiative, announced in a 2017 policy address.
Hong Kong residents can apply for iAM Smart accounts free of charge on a voluntary basis. The iAM Smart mobile app is available for free download as of 9am on 30 December.
The iAM Smart platform provides four major functions:
- Authentication, using the biometrics in personal mobile devices to authenticate identities, which are verified against their HKID cards during registration, to log in to online services
- Form filling, allowing users to encrypt and store commonly used personal data in government data centre facilities to save them time and effort when making online applications, and enabling them to provide their data to other entities for different online services (with consent).
- Personalised notification, including notification of billing deadlines
- Digital signing, which includes legal backing under the Electronic Transactions Ordinance for statutory documents, procedures, and commercial transactions
More than 20 commonly used online government services are accessible through the iAM Smart platform. By mid-2021, iAM Smart users will be able to access over 110 online government services through the platform.
“As digital infrastructure for smart city development, iAM Smart aims, among others, to further promote smart government as well as digital transformation of the entire community,” the OGCIO said in a statement.
Subject to the progress of the adoption by government online services and the readiness of the companies in the financial sector to adopt iAM Smart, the OGCIO will arrange for the roll out of iAM Smart to financial institutions.
In a statement, the SFC (Securities and Futures Commission) said it highly encourages licensed corporations to consider adopting iAM Smart in their businesses for customer authentication, document signing, and remote onboarding.
The HKMA (Hong Kong Monetary Authority) has issued a statement of its own calling for authorised institutions and SVF licensees to adopt iAM Smart in their businesses. The IA (Insurance Authority) and MPFA (Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority) have issued similar circulars to relevant institutions.
The regulators say they would accept iAM Smart for client identity verification and the associated digital signing for onboarding purposes, and invite regulated firms who wish to explore potential use cases for iAM Smart to participate in a pilot sandbox programme.
The sandbox programme was introduced by the OGCIO in collaboration with Cyberport in March 2020. The second phase of the programme, launched in September 2020, allows financial institutions intending to adopt iAM Smart to test their applications in an integration testing environment.
So far, more than 180 companies in the financial sector, as well as the fintech tenants and incubatees from Cyberport and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, have joined the pilot sandbox programme.
“The HKMA sees the introduction of iAM Smart as a key milestone in the development of the fintech ecosystem in Hong Kong, and strongly encourages AIs and SVF licensees to support the use of iAM Smart to enhance customers’ digital experience and help promote the further development of our smart city,” the banking regulator said.