A Bill providing for amendments to the MAS Act recently underwent its first reading in Parliament and broadly covered the following purposes:

  1. Customer due diligence and record keeping requirements – the duties to perform customer due diligence measures for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) purposes and the obligation to keep records and information to determine the extent of compliance with such requirements will be provided within this primary legislation. The detailed CDD measures and record keeping requirements continue to be reflected in the respective MAS AML/ CFT Notices for the various sectors such as banking, life insurance and financial advisers.
  2. Enhancements to MAS supervisory cooperation regime – the sharing of information (including protected information such as those under the Banking Act) and cooperation with foreign AML/CFT supervisors and other Singapore authorities for the investigation or enforcement of money laundering (ML) and terrorism financing (TF) offences. To prevent any abuse where generic requests for broad categories of information, under a pretext for investigations, and to protect the confidentiality of information shared, the proposed Bill provides for safeguards by listing out the conditions under which assistance and/or information to foreign supervisors and domestic authorities will be provided.
  3. Inspections by foreign supervisory authorities – a foreign AML/CFT supervisor will be allowed to carry out on-site inspections of its Singapore operations to facilitate the consolidated supervision of financial institutions by their home supervisory authority.

These changes are largely in line with the earlier proposals provided in the June 2014 Consultation Paper and formed part of MAS’ efforts to align with the recommendations proposed by Financial Action Task Force. This Bill covers those sectors which have been identified to have relatively less robust controls relating to ML/ FT (for example, remittance agents, money-changers, internet-based stored value facility holders) in the January 2014 National Risk Assessment Report.