Proposed new rules for financial institutions against money-laundering and terrorism financing

Individuals who hold prominent public function roles, including head of state and senior political party leaders, may come under closer financial scrutiny as part of moves by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to strengthens rules to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

MAS released a consultation paper on proposed amendments to its notices to financial institutions on Tuesday.

Among the changes drawn up are that financial institutions need to "cater for a risk-based approach for certain categories of politically exposed persons", said the MAS in a statement.

Another rule being proposed is that financial institutions must put in place additional requirements for cross-border wire transfers exceeding $1,500.

Financial institutions will also have to formalise the need to screen customers and their connected parties.

Many of the proposals are already being done by financial institutions, according to MAS, which said "the proposed changes formalise existing supervisory expectations and practices of the financial institutions."

MAS said the new measures will further safeguard Singapore's financial system from being used to launder money or finance terrorism.

Its deputy managing director Ong Chong Tee said: "Singapore is fully committed to keeping our financial centre clean and supporting global efforts to combat financial crime.

"In an evaluation exercise conducted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2008, Singapore was assessed to have a rigorous anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism regime."

The FATF is the global standard-setter for measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and the financing of proliferation.

It is an intergovernmental body comprising 36 members, with the participation of over 190 jurisdictions through a global network of FATF-style regional bodies.