Contributed by Ang Cong Shen, Head of Transaction Monitoring Compliance
Singapore remains resolute in its commitment to upholding a pristine financial system, a commitment underscored by its rigorous approach to combating money laundering. The recent high-value money laundering case has spotlighted the significance of a multifaceted strategy in safeguarding the integrity of the nation's financial institutions, especially for major payment institutions including CYS Global Remit.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has been at the forefront, unwavering in adapting its three-pronged approach to tackle money laundering risks.
MAS Three-Pronged Approach to Combat Money Laundering:
1. Prevention: The first line of defense against money laundering is prevention. MAS imposes stringent Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements on financial institutions. These institutions are obligated to conduct due diligence checks on their customers, meticulously verifying their identities, and maintaining vigilant monitoring of customer accounts to flag any suspicious activities. For customers with elevated risk profiles, additional layers of scrutiny are mandated to validate the legitimacy of their wealth and funds. In the recent case, MAS board member Alvin Tan underscored the thorough checks conducted on Single Family Offices (SFOs) before granting tax incentives. These assessments encompass proof of account openings with local financial institutions and rigorous screening by MAS.
2. Detection: Detection assumes a pivotal role in identifying and disrupting illicit financial activities. Financial institutions are mandated to promptly report any suspicious customer transactions to the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office (STRO). Furthermore, MAS actively collaborates with financial institutions to heighten awareness of emerging risks and criminal typologies. The application of advanced data analytics is encouraged to bolster detection capabilities. Given the recent money laundering case, MAS is redoubling its efforts, conducting meticulous supervisory reviews and inspections of the involved financial institutions.
3. Enforcement: The final prong in this strategy is enforcement. When breaches of MAS's requirements are identified, decisive enforcement actions are initiated against both the financial institutions and their key staff members. Historical records demonstrate MAS's swiftness in taking robust actions, as evidenced by prior cases where substantial penalties were imposed for AML/CFT violations. In the current scenario, MAS is meticulously scrutinizing how the suspects accessed financial services in Singapore, with a firm commitment to addressing any lapses or vulnerabilities promptly.
By diligently adhering to the three-pronged approach championed by MAS, CYS Global Remit ensures a comprehensive strategy in combating money laundering, reinforcing its stature as a secure and dependable platform for international remittances and financial transactions. CYS remains steadfast in preserving the trust and confidence of its esteemed clients and stakeholders.