Thursday, March 19, 2015

FATF Public Statement

The Financial Action Task Force (‘FATF’) has issued a statement highlighting the strategic deficiencies in the anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism ('AML/CFT') regimes of two groups of jurisdictions:

  • The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea ('DPRK') and Iran have not shown sufficient commitment to address their serious AML/CFT deficiencies.
  • Algeria, Ecuador, and Myanmar have not yet made sufficient progress in addressing their strategic deficiencies.

Financial institutions are advised to take the appropriate action and due diligence measures as recommended by the FATF with respect to the named jurisdictions.

A point worth nothing is that Indonesia has been moved to the FATF’s 'improving' list of countries who have addressed AML/CFT failings.

More information can be found on the FATF website.

Friday, March 13, 2015

IRAS Takes Steps to Curb Tax Evasion

Regulators worldwide are cracking down on tax evasion, an issue which has come to prominence especially with the recent revelations that UK bank HSBC had assisted more than 100,000 wealthy individuals from paying tax.

With the advent of the increase in marginal tax rates for individuals who earn at least SGD 160,000 as announced in the recent Singapore Budget 2015 statement, high income earners may decide to set up companies in order to avoid higher personal income taxes, and in turn, pay the corporate income tax of 17% instead. The personal income tax for high income earners will be increased up to 22% percent on the chargeable income from the year of assessment 2017.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Amended Rules on Risk Based Capital Adequacy Requirements for Holders of Capital Markets Services Licenses

In July 2013, the Monetary Authority of Singapore introduced a new regime regarding capital requirements for Capital Markets Services licence holders. 

Independent Asset Managers (‘IAM’) that are Licensed Fund Management Companies (‘LFMC’) must in general maintain:
  • A Base Capital of SGD 250,000; and
  •  Financial Resources exceeding 120% of their Total Risk Requirement.          
The Financial Resources are basically the available shareholders’ equity. In most cases, the Total Risk Requirement amounts to:
  • SGD 100,000 for IAMs with an Annual Gross Income of SGD 2 million or below; or
  • 5% of the IAM’s Annual Gross Income up to SGD 10 million plus 2% of its Annual Gross Income above SGD 10 million.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

MAS Legislative Consultation Paper for FAIR

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (‘MAS’) has released a consultation paper on legislative amendments to the Financial Advisers Act ('FAA') and Insurance Act ('IA') to implement the policy proposals under the Financial Advisory Industry Review ('FAIR') in order to raise the standards of the financial advisory industry.

The MAS is proposing regulatory requirements for continuing professional development (‘CPD’) for representatives of financial adviser ('FA') and exempt financial advisers. At the same time, the MAS proposes to raise the criteria and standards for licensed financial advisers ('LFAs'), in particular with a view to financial requirements and in staff capabilities. Registered insurance brokers must also meet similar criteria to carry on the full range of FA activities.

Monday, November 3, 2014

FATF Issues Guidance on Transparency and Beneficial Ownership

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has issued a Guidance on Transparency and Beneficial Ownership. The standards on transparency aims to deter and prevent the misuse of corporate vehicles such as companies, trusts, foundations, partnerships, and other types of legal persons and arrangements. Corporate vehicles have been known to have been misused for illicit purposes, such as money laundering, bribery and corruption, insider dealings, tax fraud, terrorist financing, and other illegal activities.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tougher Anti-Money Laundering Rules for Accountants in Singapore

The Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) has issued the Ethics Pronouncement 200 - Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) – Requirements and Guidelines for Professional Accountants in Singapore. The pronouncement sets out the enhanced mandatory requirements on implementing controls and procedures for AML and CFT that professional accountants, including public accountants, must abide by. Accountants will have to follow tougher AML rules which will in turn aid in strengthening Singapore's reputation as a trusted international financial and business centre.

We Have Moved!

We are pleased to announce that Maroon Analytics has relocated its office!

Our new office address is at:

63 Robinson Road, #04-04 Afro Asia Building, Singapore 068894

Data Privacy - UBS Banker Fined for Handling Data

All financial institutions should keep in mind that the data they are handling is protected by both banking secrecy laws and data privacy laws in which regulators can enact upon them with regards to the protection of client information. In certain cases, data privacy laws can even be used as an alternative to banking secrecy laws to protect the confidentiality of client data.

Friday, October 17, 2014

IOSCO Consults on Principles regarding the Custody of CIS Assets

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) has published a Consultation Report on Principles regarding the Custody of Collective Investment Schemes’ Assets. The report is aimed at gathering the views of investment managers, custodians, institutional investors and other interested parties on the development of a set of principles for the custody of Collective Investment Schemes’ (CIS) Assets.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Reporting Regime for Precious Stones and Metals Dealers in Singapore

Singapore has announced a cash transaction reporting regime for Precious Stones and Metals Dealers ('PSMDs') with effect from 15 October 2014.

Precious stones and metals are highly valuable items which can be easily traded and in turn, easily exploited by criminals. There are several cases in which funds obtained from illegal activity has been used to buy precious commodities which are then subsequently converted back to cash. The precious commodities could also be used directly to support criminal activities.

Friday, October 3, 2014

NEW! Training & Development Department

We have recently launched our Training & Development Department.

Why did we do this?

As you may know, we have been around for some time providing financial & compliance services to out clientele in Singapore and within the region. In our conversations with our partners, we realized that there was a need for high level financial training. Not your usual "this is a bond stuff" but more geared toward high level analytical tools.

We conducted several one-off courses and we were encouraged by the response.

Leveraging of our contacts here in Singapore, within the region and overseas, we have built up a pool of talented & experienced practitioners within their own industries. All our practitioners have years of experience working in tier 1 financial institutions in New York & London.

Friday, September 5, 2014

ASEAN Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) Framework

Fund managers based in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand can offer collective investment schemes (‘CIS’) constituted and authorized in their home jurisdiction directly to retail investors in the other two ASEAN countries under a streamlined authorization process under the Memorandum of Understanding on Streamlined Authorization Framework For Cross-border Public Offers of ASEAN Collective Investment Schemes (‘ASEAN CIS framework’).

Friday, August 29, 2014

OTC Derivatives: Clearing, Reporting and Collateral Management Workshop

Maroon's Ben Watson, a highly-regarded expert on OIS in the Asia-Pacific region, recently concluded a well-received presentation on "Managing Capital and Liquidity Impacts on Collateral Management" at the Risk Australia Workshop on OTC Derivatives in Sydney which was held on the 12th and 13th of August. The presentation touched upon the strategies in which banks can maximize capital efficiency and liquidity mobility especially in an ever-changing compliance and market environment as well as the strategies to enhance operational efficiency and to reduce risk through portfolio compression.

For interested parties, the slides from the presentation can be found here.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Consultation Paper on Proposals to Enhance Regulatory Safeguards for Investors in Capital Markets

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (‘MAS’) has released a consultation on proposals to enhance regulatory safeguards for investors in capital markets with three major drives. First, MAS proposes to extend the regulatory safeguards to retail investors to non-conventional products that are similar to regulated capital markets products: Buy-back arrangements involving precious metals are proposed to be considered debentures. The scope of collective investment schemes (‘CIS’) is proposed to be extended to products that do not pool contributions but assets are managed as a whole and thus pooled in effect.

Friday, August 1, 2014

MAS Consultation Paper on Proposed Amendments to AML/CFT Notices

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (‘MAS’) has released a consultation paper on proposed amendments to its Notices to Financial Institutions (‘FIs’) on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (‘AML/CFT Notices’).

Adding greater emphasis to a risk-based approach (‘RBA’), capital markets intermediaries (‘CMIs’) will be required to perform a general risk assessment regarding their money laundering and terrorism financing risk. A similar risk assessment must be performed for new products, new business practices and the use of new technologies.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

OIS Discounting and Counterparty Credit Risk Workshops 17/18 Sept 2014

Ben Watson, a well-known and much sought-after subject-matter expert in the Asia-Pacific region, will be conducting workshops on OIS Discounting and Counterparty Credit Risk this September.

Click here for more information and to book your place.

For information on MAS FTS funding and CPD hours, click here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Securities and Futures (Reporting of Derivatives Contracts) (Exemptions) Regulations 2014

Under the Securities and Futures Act and the Securities and Futures (Reporting of Derivatives Contracts) Regulations 2013, banks, finance companies, insurers, holders of a capital markets services (‘CMS’) licence, and approved trustees must report specified information on specified derivatives contracts, currently interest rate derivatives contracts and credit derivatives contracts, that are booked or traded in Singapore to a licensed trade repository within two business days after the execution, termination or a change in the specified data.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Amendments to MAS Notices on Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism ('AML/CFT')

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (‘MAS’) has revised the MAS Notices on Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (‘MAS AML/CFT Notices’). The amendments clarify financial institutions’ (‘FIs’) obligations under the anti-money laundering (‘AML’) and countering the financing of terrorism (‘CFT’) requirements in relation to the Personal Data Protection Act (‘PDPA’).

Friday, June 27, 2014

High-Frequency Trading

High-frequency trading (‘HFT’) has become a frequently bandied about term in the financial system in recent years. In this technologically-advanced age, the increased use of computers is evident for all to see, and through HFT, the role computers play has become even more profound that ever before. In 2009, HFT orders accounted for more than 50% of exchange volume in the market and as much as two-thirds of all stock trades in the U.S. from 2008 to 2011 were executed by high-frequency firms using sophisticated technology.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Model Validation, Control and Governance Workshop

Finance is a Risky Business

While no financial institution can afford to ignore the risks inherent in this industry, Model Risk is still an uncharted territory for many organizations.  Even the regulators, until recently, have not placed much emphasis on this area of risk management.