The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) revealed that it issued nearly 70 times more financial penalties by value between January 2019 and June 2020, than it did in the previous 18 months.
The regulator’s figures, published in its Enforcement Report, gave details of the action taken against regulatory and requirement breaches.
While there has been a 68% increase, the MAS said that fines for money laundering activity have dropped during the 18 months in question.
The Lion City’s watchdog said that its priorities remain corporate disclosure, business conduct, anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism, compliance and internal controls.
But the most investigated issues when it comes to financial misconduct in Singapore seem to be related to the mis-selling of products, breaches of business conduct rules, and serious unfitness or impropriety, the regulator added.
MAS imposed S$11.7m. ($8.71m) in civil penalties and successfully secured the criminal convictions of nine individuals for market misconduct or related offences. Meanwhile, around S$3.3m was imposed by the regulator in composition penalties for money laundering-related control breaches and 25 prohibition orders were issued against unfit representatives.
Mark Tan, expert in corporate and commercial law at Pinsent Masons, said; “I think the publication of the enforcement report by the MAS is a clear sign that it recognises that a rigorous and robust enforcement regime will continue to remain essential to sustaining and enhancing Singapore’s reputation as a global financial centre.
“As the financial sector keeps growing in size and sophistication, it is expected that the MAS will correspondingly expand its investigative and enforcement capabilities, and will continue to rigorously enforce the financial regulations, so as to deter financial misconduct and maintain investor confidence.”
Gillian Tan, executive director (enforcement) at MAS, added: “As Singapore’s financial industry grows in size and complexity, so will the risks of financial misconduct.
“Enforcement plays a critical role in financial supervision through the detection, investigation and punishment of serious misconduct. This is intended to deter illegal and unethical behaviour and protect consumers.”
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