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.

The AML and CFT requirements in the new pronouncement are aligned to international best market practices and the latest Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations. Non-compliance with the requirements may result in an investigation into the public accountant’s or professional accountant’s conduct by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) or ISCA respectively. The new pronouncement takes a risk-based approach so that the required procedures are applied in proportion to the individual money laundering or terrorist financing risks faced by professional accountants and accounting entities.

In addition to underlining the statutory responsibilities of all professional accountants to report suspicious transactions, the new pronouncement includes enhancements on:
  • Requirements for accounting entities to have the systems and controls in place to address money laundering/terrorist financing concerns;
  • Requirements for public accountants and accounting entities to have specific customer due diligence and records keeping measures when providing certain services; and
  • Recommendations on reporting procedures, training, compliance, hiring and audit.
The pronouncement is effective from 1 November 2014. However, certain sections will only come into force from 1 May 2015 to allow time for the accountancy sector to implement the new controls and procedures. More information can be found here.

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