A Reminder on Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on Tuesday, May 24 that it has ordered the closure of BSI Bank in Singapore over serious breaches of anti-money laundering requirements, poor management oversight of the bank’s operations, and gross misconduct by some of the bank’s staff.
BSI Bank has also been fined S$13.3 million for 41 breaches of anti-money laundering regulations. The breaches include a failure to perform enhanced customer due diligence on high-risk accounts, and to monitor for suspicious customer transactions on an ongoing basis.
The bank, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Switzerland-based BSI SA, has been operating in Singapore since November 2005, and offers private banking services. This is the first time in over 30 years that a merchant bank in Singapore has been ordered to shut down. In 1984, Jardine Fleming (Singapore) was ordered to close over serious lapses in its advisory work.
The entire BSI group is in the process of being acquired by Swiss bank EFG International, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority had approved the takeover of BSI by EFG International with the condition that BSI will be integrated and dissolved within 12 months, and that none of the BSI top management responsible for the misconduct be allowed to take up leadership positions at EFG.
A Reminder to All
MAS has conducted 3 inspections in 2011 and 2014 and found lapses in BSI Bank’s controls, while the last inspection in 2015 has revealed multiple breaches of anti-money laundering regulations and patterns of non-compliance.
Mr. Ravi Menon, the Managing Director of MAS, said in a statement that “BSI Bank is the worst case of control lapses and gross misconduct that we have seen in the Singapore financial sector”.
The action taken by MAS serves as a reminder to all financial institutions to take their anti-money laundering responsibilities seriously.
Anti-Money Laundering and Countering of Financing Terrorism (AML/CFT) in Singapore
Singapore is committed to protect its integrity in anti-money laundering and countering of financing terrorism. As a member of the United Nations (UN), Singapore gives effect to the sanctions under the UN Security Council Resolutions. Among other provisions, the UN Regulations prohibit persons in Singapore from dealing with the UN-designated individuals and entities.
In Singapore, other non-financial institutions such as pawn-broking, Chartered Accountants, Chartered Secretaries, property agents, are also expected to implement measures and control for AML/CFT.
Many businesses are either unaware or not familiar with implementing procedures, documents and controls for AML/CFT regulations that affect their business. If you need assistance in this area, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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