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In brief

On 31 July 2023, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published a Consultation Paper setting out a proposed regulatory framework for Single Family Offices (SFOs) in Singapore. The new measures under this proposed framework allows MAS to enhance its surveillance and defence against money laundering risks within the SFO sector.

The proposed SFO framework introduces a harmonised set of qualifying criteria that SFOs must fulfil in order to be exempted from licensing requirements under the Securities and Futures Act 2001 (SFA) to conduct fund management in Singapore. In addition, SFOs will be required to comply with new notification and annual reporting requirements.


Key proposed measures under the framework

We summarise the key measures under the proposed SFO framework in the table below.

Proposed transitional arrangements

MAS proposes a transitional period of six months from the effective date of the proposed SFO framework for all SFOs with existing licensing exemptions to confirm their ability to comply with the new Qualifying Criteria and notify MAS of the same2.

The existing licensing exemption that an SFO has been relying on prior to the implementation of the new SFO framework would either be withdrawn upon the SFO’s filing of the requisite notification to MAS, or, at the end of the transitional 6-month period, whichever is earlier. SFOs that have filed the notification with MAS are allowed to continue operating in Singapore without the need to obtain MAS’ acknowledgement. SFOs that are unable to meet the Qualifying Criteria (and are thus unable to file the notification), and continue to carry on business in fund management after the transitional 6-month period will be considered to be in breach of the SFA.

The MAS seeks comments on this consultation paper by 30 September 2023, 11.59 PM.

If you have any feedback or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.


1 MAS will be providing further details on the mode of submission for the proposed notification and annual returns for SFOs at a later stage and prior to the implementation of the new SFO framework.

2 Note that where an SFO had applied for tax incentive under Section 13O or Section 13U of the Income Tax Act and furnished a legal opinion to MAS as part of its application, the SFO will also be required to obtain a new legal opinion that the SFO meets the Qualifying Criteria.

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Stephanie Magnus co-heads the Asia Pacific Financial Institutions Group and heads up the Financial Services Regulatory Practice Group in Singapore. Stephanie is ranked Band 1 for FinTech in Singapore by Chambers FinTech 2020. She is also ranked as a Leading Individual for Financial Services Regulatory: Local Firms in Singapore by Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020. She is recognised as a leading lawyer for Banking & Finance: Regulatory in Singapore by Chambers Asia Pacific and Chambers Global 2020. Stephanie was quoted in Chambers Asia Pacific for her "timely, practical and business-oriented" advice, with a "deep understanding of the regulatory regime." She is also recognised as "very business-savvy and brilliant every time," and is admired for her "very strong grasp of the legal issues from both a technical and practical perspective."

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Eunice is a principal in the Financial Services Regulatory practice group of Baker McKenzie's Singapore office and a member of the Firm's Global Financial Services Regulatory Steering Committee. Eunice has extensive experience in regulatory, legal and compliance matters in the financial services and fintech sectors. Her clients include banks, investment managers, broker-dealers, payments companies and other financial institutions.
Eunice is consistently recognised as the Next Generation Partner for Financial Services Regulatory in Legal 500 Asia Pacific. Clients have described her as: “an exceptional lawyer with deep knowledge of financial services; "commercial and solutions-oriented and has an excellent relationship with the regulator which is of benefit to her clients"; "singled out for being smart and having the ability to navigate the Singapore regulatory landscape"; "is responsive, pleasant and willing to explore different parameters" and "is outstanding in that she always carefully and clearly explains the situation and background of the issue so that we can fully understand it, she always has a quick response and she has a deep understanding of the financial industry and our company."
Eunice is a frequent speaker at legal and financial industry seminars and forums. She also regularly assists clients in coordinating industry responses and participate in consultation with the Monetary Authority of Singapore on policy and legislative changes.

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Ying Yi is a Local Principal in the Financial Services Practice Group of Baker McKenzie Wong & Leow in Singapore. She focuses on regulatory and compliance issues in the financial services sector. She is ranked Next Generation Partner for Fintech and Financial Services Regulatory: Local Firms by Legal 500, Up and Coming for Banking and Finance: Regulatory in Singapore by Chambers Asia Pacific and Band 3 for Fintech Legal in Singapore by Chambers Fintech.
She is described as an "outstanding lawyer" who is "praised for being in touch with market developments and going the extra mile to understand client needs" by Legal 500 Asia Pacific. Chambers Asia Pacific cites her strengths as "responsive and genuinely cares about her clients and their business goals. She is very well connected and tuned into the latest regulatory developments, especially in the fintech, digital payments and blockchain space".

Author

Dawn Quek is a leading tax and private client lawyer in Singapore with many years of experience in corporate tax and international tax planning. She is the Head of the Wealth Management practice in Singapore and is the Asia Pacific representative on the Firm's Global Wealth Management Steering Committee. Dawn is consistently ranked as a leading tax and private client/wealth lawyer by various legal publications including Chambers High Net Worth (HNW) Guide, International Tax Review Women in Tax Leaders Guide and the Legal 500 Asia Pacific. She was named "Private Client Lawyer of the Year" at the 2018 Asia Legal Awards by The Asian Lawyer, and named "Women in Wealth Management" at the 2018 and 2020 WealthBriefingAsia Awards. Dawn is a key player in the local wealth management and financial services scene. She frequently participates in formal and informal consultations with government authorities on law reform on issues relating to the wealth management and financial services industry from a tax and legal perspective. She has also co-written articles on international tax planning issues in various tax and legal journals published by CCH and BNA. In addition, Dawn has been quoted extensively in publications such as the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Reuters, the Financial Times, the Straits Times, the Business Times and Asian Private Banker on issues and developments affecting the wealth management industry in Singapore.

Author

Enoch Wan is a Senior Associate in Baker McKenzie, Singapore office.

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