What Is The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is the central bank and financial regulator of Singapore. It is led by the Minister of Finance and operates with a strict code of conduct and core values, such as professionalism, honesty, and fairness. Over the past four decades, MAS has been instrumental in guiding Singapore's financial development and establishing it as a leading international financial center.

In recent years, MAS has set its sights on positioning Singapore as a regional leader in the FinTech industry. To this end, the authority has created an environment that is conducive to innovation and has encouraged FinTech startups to establish themselves in Singapore.

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MAS holds bi-annual policy meetings in April and October, where central bank officials gather to discuss changes in banking policies and their potential impact on the financial community. These meetings are of great importance to the business community in Singapore and provide valuable insight into the country's financial landscape.

Its vision is to promote sustainable, non-inflationary economic growth and maintain a stable and progressive financial center. To achieve this, the authority conducts extensive research through a comprehensive research program that employs experts and academics to study the economy of Singapore and the surrounding region. MAS produces a wide range of publications, including daily market commentary, consumer advice, and scientific research, to support its mission of creating economic policy for Singapore.

MAS Functions

  • To serve as the central banking authority for Singapore, which includes responsibilities for monetary policy, currency issuance, payment system oversight, and acting as a financial agent for the government.
  • To oversee and monitor the financial services sector and ensure financial stability.
  • To manage the country's official foreign exchange reserves.
  • To promote Singapore as a leading international financial center.

History of MAS

MAS was established on 1 January 1971 with the passing of the Monetary Authority of Singapore Act by the Parliament of Singapore. The creation of MAS was in response to the growing need for a central administrative body to regulate and oversee the country's rapidly developing monetary and financial sectors. Before the establishment of MAS, various government departments and agencies carried out monetary transactions and financial activities. However, as Singapore's economy grew and the banking sector became more complex, it became increasingly clear that a centralized authority was necessary to maintain consistency, integrity, and efficiency in the country's financial system.

As the central bank and financial regulator of Singapore, MAS is responsible for a wide range of monetary and financial functions, including the issuance of currency, the management of Singapore's foreign exchange reserves, and the supervision of the banking and financial sector to ensure stability and integrity. Over the years, MAS has played a critical role in helping to develop Singapore into a major financial center and a hub for international trade and investment. Today, MAS continues to be at the forefront of financial regulation and innovation, working to ensure that Singapore remains a safe and vibrant financial center for generations to come.

MAS Focus Areas

MAS has several focus areas, including Anti-Money Laundering (AML), enforcement, fintech regulatory sandbox, cyber security, and COVID-19.

In terms of AML, MAS is focused on ensuring the integrity and stability of the financial system in Singapore. This involves implementing measures to detect and prevent money laundering activities, as well as working with relevant stakeholders to promote compliance with AML regulations.

In terms of enforcement, MAS is dedicated to ensuring that financial institutions and individuals comply with the regulations and laws that govern the financial sector. This includes conducting investigations, imposing fines and sanctions, and taking legal action when necessary.

MAS also has a focus on the fintech regulatory sandbox, which is aimed at fostering innovation in the financial sector. The regulatory sandbox allows fintech companies to test and develop their products and services in a controlled environment, with the support and guidance of MAS.

Cyber security is another key focus area for MAS, as the increasing digitization of the financial sector presents new risks and challenges. MAS works to ensure that financial institutions have the necessary measures in place to protect against cyber-attacks and data breaches and provides guidance and resources to help them stay secure.

Finally, MAS is also focused on addressing the impact of COVID-19 on the financial sector. This includes providing support and relief measures to financial institutions and customers, monitoring and assessing the impact of the pandemic on the financial system, and working with relevant stakeholders to ensure that the sector remains stable and resilient.

AML Policy under MAS Authority

MAS implements AML policies to prevent and combat money laundering and terrorism financing in the country. This includes implementing customer due diligence (CDD) requirements for financial institutions, monitoring and reporting suspicious transactions, and collaborating with international organizations and other government agencies in the fight against financial crime.

MAS also requires financial institutions to have internal AML controls in place, including policies and procedures for risk management, employee training, and reporting of suspicious transactions. The authority also conducts regular on-site inspections and assessments to ensure that financial institutions are complying with AML regulations.

In addition, MAS works with other government agencies, such as the Commercial Affairs Department, to investigate and prosecute money laundering cases. The authority also actively participates in international efforts to combat financial crime, including contributing to the development of global AML standards and participating in international information-sharing initiatives.

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