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Strong action taken to combat financial misconduct, market abuse in Singapore: MAS

Strong action taken to combat financial misconduct, market abuse in Singapore: MAS

A view of the Monetary Authority of Singapore's headquarters on Jun 28, 2017. (File photo: Reuters/Darren Whiteside)

SINGAPORE: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has taken tougher enforcement actions against financial institutions and individuals for market abuse and financial misconduct. 

In its Enforcement Report published on Wednesday (Nov 4), the authority detailed various actions taken for breaches of MAS regulations covering the period from January 2019 to June 2020. 

This includes imposing civil penalties worth S$11.7 million in relation to market misconduct and related offences.

Working with the Attorney-General’s Chambers, it also secured the criminal convictions of nine individuals for such offences.

READ: MAS issues prohibition orders to 2 former bank employees for fraud, dishonest conduct

Composition penalties of S$3.3 million were also imposed for money laundering-related control breaches, while 25 prohibition orders were issued to unfit representatives.

READ: MAS issues prohibition orders to 2 former bank employees for fraud, dishonest conduct

The report also highlighted shorter turnaround times for the regulatory authority in completing reviews and investigations compared to the previous reporting period.

Criminal cases were processed in an average of 24 months, down from 33 months, and civil penalty cases took an average of 26 months to process, down from 30 months.

MAS and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority have established a joint forum to facilitate the review and enforcement of accounting-related and disclosure issues.

The authority has also jointly published a trade surveillance practice guide with the Singapore Exchange to help brokers implement good practices in their operations. 

READ: Goldman Sachs Singapore to pay authorities S$165 million for role in 1MDB scandal

"Rigorous investigation and tough enforcement are necessary to deter financial misconduct, protect consumers and maintain investor confidence,” MAS' executive director of enforcement Peggy Pao said.

“In the four years since we established a centralised Enforcement Department, MAS has deepened our enforcement capability and expertise.

“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,” she added.

READ: Former BSI banker banned for life by MAS over US$5 million in ‘secret profits’ linked to 1MDB scandal

MAS' enforcement priorities going forward include pursuing serious and complex cases of disclosure breaches, deepening capabilities to proactively detect the potential misselling of financial products and updating enforcement-related powers.

It will also continue to scrutinise financial institutions which lack systems and processes to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing, and enhance its focus on holding senior management accountable for the breaches of their financial institutions and subordinates.

“MAS will continue to strengthen its enforcement regime, as the nature of financial misconduct grows in sophistication and complexity,” it said.

“MAS will continually refine its processes and increasingly leverage technology to heighten effectiveness and efficiency in investigation.”

Source: CNA/kg(ta)


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