MAS Takes Strict Actions against Financial Misconduct and Money Laundering

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published its Enforcement Report today, the regulatory authority detailed many strong actions taken against financial institutions and individuals for financial misconduct, market abuse, and control breaches related to money-laundering.

The Enforcement Report covering the period January 2019 to June 2020 states that the regulator imposed S$11.7 million dollars in civil penalties during the period. MAS also imposed S$3.3 million in composition penalties for money-laundering related control breaches.

MAS has taken strong actions to decrease its review and investigation time. For criminal cases, the time decreased from 33 months to 24 months, while for civil cases time dropped from 30 months to 26 months as compared to the previous reporting period.

MAS collaborating with various stakeholders to detect market misconduct as early as possible. The regulator has also jointly published a trade surveillance guide with the Singapore Exchange to help brokers improve their surveillance operations.

Commenting on the report, Peggy Pao, Executive Director (Enforcement) at MAS, said: “Rigorous investigation and tough enforcement are necessary to deter financial misconduct, protect consumers, and maintain investor confidence. In the four years since we established a centralised Enforcement Department, MAS has deepened our enforcement capability and expertise.”

MAS mentioned Corporate Disclosures, Financial Advisory Conduct, and Senior Management Accountability as key priorities for the regulator going forward in 2021. The authority will focus on those financial institutions which lack a strong system to counter money laundering and terrorism financing. Singapore looks to cement its position as a regional financial hub with the help of recently introduced initiatives.

“As our financial sector grows in scale and sophistication, a robust enforcement regime will be critical in sustaining Singapore’s reputation as a trusted financial centre,” Pao added.

Earlier this year, MAS introduced a new AML framework for crypto businesses with the commencement of the Payment Services Act (PSA).

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