Feedback sought on proposed changes to Trustees Act to boost transparency

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Law is seeking public feedback on proposed changes to the Trustees Act, which it says will contribute towards global efforts in countering money laundering, terrorism financing and tax evasion.

These changes aim to, for example, make the ownership and control structures of trusts more transparent, and improve financial record keeping by trustees.

These proposed amendments are aligned with international standards set by two global bodies - the Financial Action Task Force and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes - of which Singapore is a member.

The proposed amendments to the Trustees Act include provisions to empower the Law Minister to make rules to prescribe duties on trustees to obtain and maintain financial records, as well as information on the parties relevant to and dealing with the trust.

The minister would also be allowed to prescribe the specific groups of trusts which are exempted from the proposed amendments.

He would also be able to designate any breach of such rules as an offenceand impose a penalty of a fine not exceeding $1,000 for any breaches of the obligations.

Interested parties can view the consultation paper on these proposed changes at the MinLaw website and submit their feedback by Jan 31.