To enhance and also align Singapore’s anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) regime with the international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force, the Act establishing the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore’s central bank and prudential regulator, will be amended to:
- consolidate at the level of primary legislation MAS’ AML/CFT powers to require financial institutions to conduct customer due diligence (CDD) and retain such records;
- remove technical barriers to international supervisory co-operation with foreign counterpart AML and CFT agencies;
- provide strong safeguards for sharing of information with domestic and foreign AML/CFT agencies; and
- bring non-bank entities, such as holding companies of banks and non-bank issuers of credit or charge cards, under MAS’ supervisory powers.
The amending Bill had its first reading in Parliament on 13 April 2015. These amendments are expected to come into force mid-2015. Our earlier summary of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (Amendment) Bill, and the recent AML/CFT amendments to other important legislation, can be found at our Global Compliance News platform (link). MAS’ response to public feedback on draft amendments MAS earlier held a public consultation on the draft amending Bill and, just prior to tabling the Bill in Parliament, MAS issued the following reassurances in response to the feedback it received:
- As the amendments will have minimal operational impact, Financial Institutions (FI) should not be concerned over the early implementation date and absence of a transition period;
- Safeguards will be in place and requests for information must only be relevant for AML/CFT supervision. Any generic “fishing expeditions” or requests in support of criminal investigations will be excluded;
- While MAS may share a suspicious transaction with a foreign AML/CFT supervisor, this will strictly be MAS’ decision and such cooperation will not bypass established channels; and
Protected client information will not be shared with a foreign AML/CFT supervisor if the FI has does not have a presence in that jurisdiction and cannot be used for investigations into specific clients of the FI.