Global Task Force Says Singapore's Financial Sector Robustly Managed

The inter-governmental body, the Financial Action Task Force, has assessed that the country has a strong framework for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism. However, specific areas were highlighted for improvement.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) report comes in the wake of the ongoing 1MDB scandal and the closure in June 2016, of BSI Bank to operate as a merchant bank in Singapore by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) due to serious breaches of AML requirements, extensive control failures, ineffective senior management oversight, and acts of gross misconduct by certain bank staff.

This is Singapore’s first assessment since the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Standards were enhanced in 2012 to counter the increasing threat posed by money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF).

Several Positives

Among key areas covered by the Task Force the city-state achieved effective outcomes with its strong regulatory and supervisory framework, reasonable assessment and mitigation of risks, good international cooperation, and robust supervision of its financial sector. Also positive for the country was its prompt integration of financial intelligence in law enforcement and an effective regime to combat proliferation financing.

Room to Improve

The FATF assessment however also recommended some specific areas for improvement in Singapore’s AML/CFT regime, in particular:

  • Enhance the accessibility of information on beneficial ownership of legal persons and arrangements to law enforcement agencies and supervisors.
  • Strengthen AML/CFT regime for precious stones and metals dealers (PSMDs)
  • Enhance risk assessment for all legal persons and the non-profit sector.
  • Strengthen supervision of the non-financial sector.
  • Strengthen FIs’ risk understanding and controls.
  • Pursue more cases of complex transnational ML offences.
  • More proactively target and pursue confiscations of criminal proceeds.

In response to the report in a joint statement the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore noted that Singapore has made significant enhancements to its anti-money laundering and countering of financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime since the last FATF assessment in 2008.





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