The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a consultation paper on July 21 proposing ways to deal with risks that can undermine the financial sector. The proposed new Act for financial services and markets would consolidate similar provisions for various classes of financial institutions. The new Act will also include additional powers to prohibit unsuitable individuals from working in the financial industry,

The details of the proposed provisions are:

a) To preserve trust and deter misconduct in Singapore’s financial sector, MAS proposes to expand its power to issue prohibition orders (POs). This proposal will broaden the categories of persons who may be subject to POs, rationalise the grounds for issuing POs (from a list of specific criteria into a single fit and proper test) and widen the scope of prohibition.

The new powers will enable MAS to holistically assess whether a person’s misconduct renders him unsuitable to perform one or more roles or activities within the financial sector and the appropriate action that should be taken under the PO powers. In exercising this power, MAS will adopt a risk-proportionate approach, taking into account the nature, severity and impact of the misconduct.

b) MAS also proposes to license and regulate, for  AML/CFT purposes, any person in Singapore who provides digital token services overseas. The provisions in the new Act will expand the scope of existing legislation , which already regulates most of the digital token services provided in Singapore. The provisions will align Singapore’s regulatory regime with the enhanced standards adopted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for virtual asset (“digital token” in Singapore’s context) service providers [4] .

c) Recognising the pervasive use of technology and the growing sophistication of cyber threats, MAS proposes to harmonise and expand its existing powers to impose requirements pertaining to technology risk management, including cyber security risks and data protection, on all regulated financial institutions . MAS also proposes to increase the maximum penalty to $1 million for any contravention of these requirements.

d) MAS also proposes to provide statutory protection to persons performing the duties of an approved dispute resolution scheme operator (e.g. mediators, adjudicators and employees of the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (FIDReC)). This will strengthen their confidence to act independently in resolving consumers’ disputes with financial institutions.

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