MAS to enhance enforcement actions against market abuse and financial misconduct

      In its Enforcement Report published today, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has detailed several actions against financial institutions (FIs) and individuals for market abuse, financial misconduct, and control breaches related to money laundering. The MAS Enforcement Report provides updates on enforcement matters in the financial markets, highlights key outcomes and outlines priorities for the future. It is published once every 18 months.

      The report, published on 4 November 2020, shows the various actions that MAS imposed between January 2019 and June 2020. Overall, MAS imposed $11.7 million in civil penalties and successfully secured the criminal convictions of nine individuals for market misconduct or related offences. MAS also imposed $3.3 million in composition penalties for money laundering-related control breaches, and issued 25 prohibition orders against unfit representatives.

      The report also shows that the average time taken by MAS for completing its reviews and investigations has come down from 33 months to 24 months in criminal cases, and from 30 months to 26 months in civil penalty cases, as compared to the previous reporting period.

      MAS also worked closely with other stakeholders like Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and Singapore Exchange (SGX) to step up its focus on early detection of market misconduct. MAS and SGX jointly published a ‘trade surveillance practice guide’ to help brokers implement best practices in their trade surveillance operations.

      MAS announced three Key Areas of Focus:

      1. Market Abuse: Insider Trading, False Trading and Corporate Disclosure Breaches
      2. Financial Services Misconduct: mis-selling of financial products, breaches of business conduct rules and serious unfitness or impropriety
      3. Money-Laundering- Related Control Breaches: Poor implementation of AML/CFT controls, Inadequate governance and oversight

      MAS will continue to refine its processes and increasingly leverage technology to heighten effectiveness and efficiency in investigation. Ms Peggy Pao, Executive Director (Enforcement), MAS said “Rigorous investigation and tough enforcement are necessary to deter financial misconduct, protect consumers, and maintain investor confidence. In the four years since we established a centralised Enforcement Department, MAS has deepened our enforcement capability and expertise.  As our financial sector grows in scale and sophistication, a robust enforcement regime will be critical in sustaining Singapore’s reputation as a trusted financial centre.”

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