MAS Wants More Investigative Powers

The Monetary Authority of Singapore wants more power to conduct financial misconduct investigations, proposing new rules that would allow its officers to enter premises without a warrant or even prior notice.

As Bloomberg News reported Friday, the MAS wants to amend a financial institutions bill under the Securities and Futures Act or the Financial Advisers Act in cases where there is a risk of targets destroying evidence.

The agency also wants to extend this authority to regulations covering banking, insurance, trust companies and payment services, along with the omnibus act for the financial sector.

“This will strengthen MAS’ ability to hold persons accountable for offences under those Acts, “ MAS said in a statement on Friday.

MAS is also proposing amendments that would let the agency reprimand people for misconduct even after they have left a financial institution or the finance sector, as well as a change that would let it impose requirements on financial institutions to deal with risks stemming from the behavior of unregulated businesses.

It’s worth noting that this is happening at the same time that the MAS is hoping to turn Singapore into a global financial center. As PYMNTS reported in June, investments in Singapore have skyrocketed in the last seven years, from $20 million in 2014 to $1.1 billion in 2020. That number should rise even further this year.

The MAS is also processing applications from companies that want licenses to operate payment services and cryptocurrency exchanges in Singapore.

So far, more than 300 companies have applied, with the MAS looking for ways to speed up the process and find a balance between promoting entrepreneurship and adhering to regulations. Some recognizable names have sought licenses from the MAS, including Alphabet Inc./Google, Alibaba Group Holdings and Ant Group.

“Giving licenses to somebody is a premium — it is not something to be taken lightly,” Suphendu Mohanty, the MAS’ chief FinTech officer said in an interview with Bloomberg last month. It’s not clear when the first licenses will be issued.

“We are ensuring that whoever gets a MAS license will be credible,” Mohanty said.



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