Written by Holly Whitehead on Thursday April 25, 2019
On 20 March 2019, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) published its inaugural enforcement report. This report – which will be published every 18 months – notes the MAS’ enforcement principles, and the enforcement actions taken by them, between July 2017 and December 2018, as well as the key initiatives the MAS has put in place to preserve Singapore’s reputation as a trusted financial centre. By doing so, this report hopes to provide greater accountability and transparency on the MAS’ enforcement outcomes and strategies.
The report is broken down into five sections, which we will be exploring in further detail during the course of this blog.
Enforcement plays a vital role in financial supervision. The MAS itself has stated that ‘having an effective and robust enforcement function is a key priority’ and they are determined to deliver high standards in this regard.
The report lays out the enforcement approach of the MAS as being shaped by the three principles of the MAS’ ‘enforcement philosophy’.
These three principles are:
This section looks at the actions taken on breaches of MAS-administered Acts, Regulations and Notices from July 2017 to December 2018 and the average time taken for reviews and investigations by the MAS.
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These results are due to the efforts of the Enforcement Department within the MAS – a dedicated branch of investigators established in 2016 to combat breaches of the MAS rules.
You may be wondering why the financial penalties seem so low considering the fines handed to banks following the MAS’ probe in to the 1MDB scandal, however the majority of those fines were actually applied before July 2017 and therefore haven’t been included here.
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The MAS states in this section of the report that they focused on three key areas for enforcement:
For each key area, the report states the outstanding reviews and investigations by types of offences, discusses one or two ‘featured cases’ that the MAS investigated and the enforcement actions that stemmed from those, and examines the key initiatives that the MAS is taking to strengthen its enforcement approach.
Let’s take a quick look at the key initiatives for each key area:
This section advises how the MAS collaborates closely with international regulators and enforcement agencies to combat cross-border misconduct. For example, they are:
The final part of the report details the 2019/2020 enforcement priorities for the MAS. In other words, in 2019/2020, the MAS will focus its enforcement efforts to strengthen the following:
This new Enforcement Report was built on last year’s ‘Enforcement Monograph’ and provides some detailed and noteworthy insights into the MAS’ enforcement work and priorities. As Gillian Tan, Executive Director of the Enforcement Department at the MAS states: ‘As Singapore’s financial industry grows in size and complexity, so will the risks of financial misconduct.’ Therefore, it will be interesting to see what the next report reveals in 18 months’ time and how it builds upon this one.
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