Singapore Regulator Moves to Beef up Enforcement

Ravi Menon, Managing Director MAS

Ravi Menon, Managing Director MAS

In the aftermath of the BSI debacle, the Monetary Authority of Singapore will set up dedicated departments to combat money laundering and strengthen action on regulatory breaches.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) will form, from August 1 2016, a dedicated Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Department that will streamline the existing responsibilities for regulatory policies relating to money laundering and other illicit financing risks.

Additionally, a dedicated supervisory team will be set up to monitor these risks and carry out onsite supervision of how financial institutions manage these risks. These functions used to be carried out by different departments in MAS; the new structure will enhance supervisory focus.

Transnational Money Flows

Like all major international financial and business centres, Singapore’s financial sector faces the risk of being used as a conduit for money laundering and terrorist financing activities.

While MAS has in place a robust regime to protect the integrity of Singapore’s financial system, the increasing complexities of transnational flows necessitates heightened supervisory focus on combatting money laundering and other illicit financing activities.

«As our financial centre grows in scale, sophistication, and connectivity, so does the risk of criminal elements abusing our financial system. We will strengthen our supervision of financial institutions’ controls to combat money laundering and illicit financing. And we will enhance our enforcement capability to deter poor controls or criminal behaviour in the industry. MAS is resolved to ensure that Singapore remains a clean and trusted financial centre,» said Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS.

Cracking Down

In a press release the MAS says that with a financial sector that comprises more than 1,500 financial institutions of varying sizes and systemic importance, it is not possible to prevent regulatory breaches and misconduct even with intrusive supervision. A strong enforcement capability is necessary to conduct rigorous investigations of suspected violations and misdemeanours and to take swift actions to establish culpability and punish as appropriate the institutions or individuals who have breached MAS’ regulations.

MAS will centralise and strengthen its enforcement functions under a new Enforcement Department. The new department will continue to jointly investigate with the Commercial Affairs Department capital markets misconduct offences. In addition, the new department will be responsible for enforcement actions arising from regulatory breaches of MAS’ banking, insurance and capital markets regulations.

 

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