SINGAPORE: Money changers will be allowed to reopen for business on Jun 2, as will the customer service locations of insurance companies, fund managers and brokers, after Singapore exits its “circuit breaker” period on Jun 1.
Financial institutions that offer advice on banking, insurance and investment products, as well as private banks offering wealth management advice will also be allowed to conduct in-person meetings with customers if they obtain approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the regulator said on Tuesday (May 19).
These meetings will have to take place at the business premises of the financial institutions, and will be subject to additional safe management measures, said MAS.
READ: Singapore to exit circuit breaker on Jun 1, visiting of parents, places of worship allowed with restrictions
MAS' announcement comes after Singapore announced earlier on Tuesday that it would exit the circuit breaker as planned on Jun 1, with measures to be progressively lifted in three phases from the next day.
Besides the essential businesses that are already operating, businesses that operate in settings with lower transmission risks will be allowed to open.
The circuit breaker measures, which were first implemented on Apr 7, were initially scheduled to end on May 4. It was then extended to Jun 1.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said at a press conference on Tuesday that Singapore is able to exit from the circuit breaker on Jun 1 because of the low number of cases in the community, as well as the stabilising of the situation at foreign worker dormitories.
On Tuesday, Singapore reported 451 new COVID-19 cases, of which 450 were from dormitories and one was a community case linked to a previous patient. Singapore now has 28,794 COVID-19 cases, and 22 fatalities.
READ: Transition to a 'new normal' after circuit breaker: How will measures be lifted beyond Phase 1?
As some businesses reopen post-circuit breaker, financial institutions will be allowed to deploy more staff onsite to cater to increased customer needs, as well as to serve both online and offline channels more efficiently, said MAS.
Telecommuting remains the default for jobs that can be performed from home, said MAS, but financial institutions whose staff do return to the office will be required to comply with strict safe management measures, including staggered start times and flexible work hours.
Customer service locations of insurance companies, fund managers, and brokers will also be able to reopen to process essential customer transactions, such as facilitating account opening, updating account information, dealing with insurance policy enquiries, and processing claims and applications for relief measures, said MAS.
Financial institutions are responsible for implementing all relevant safe management measures, including SafeEntry, prior to the reopening of customer service locations, the regulator said.
"MAS strongly advises all FI customers to continue using digital financial services and e-payments as much as possible. Customers who need to visit an FI’s premises must adhere to the safe management measures at the FI’s premises," it said.
Meetings with financial advisers for wealth management, banking, insurance and investment products must be conducted on an appointment-only basis.
Among other requirements for meetings with customers, financial institutions' representatives are to wear both a mask and a face shield as well as secure written confirmation from their company's CEO to acknowledge that safe management measures are in place.
“MAS will continue to conduct onsite inspections to check that safe management requirements are implemented at FIs' premises, especially at customer-facing locations,” the authority said.
“Actions will be taken against FIs that fail to comply with the required safe management reqiurements.”