Public consultation on changes to Trustees Act

Members of the public will have a chance to comment on proposed changes to the Trustees Act, which can be seen on the Law Ministry's website.
Members of the public will have a chance to comment on proposed changes to the Trustees Act, which can be seen on the Law Ministry's website.PHOTO: ST FILE

Members of the public will have a chance to comment on proposed changes to the Trustees Act that are intended to help counter money-laundering, terrorism financing and tax evasion.

The consultation paper on the proposals can be seen on the Law Ministry's website and submissions can be made until Jan 31.

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

They 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 that are exempt from the proposed amendments and designate any rule breach as an offence and impose a penalty of a fine not exceeding $1,000.

The 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 Ministry of Law noted that Singapore takes a tough stance on financial crime to maintain its reputation as a clean and trusted international financial centre, and has over the years invested substantial efforts to enhance its anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing regime.

"They form part of Singapore's whole-of government ongoing review to ensure that corporate vehicles and trusts are not misused for improper purposes," the Ministry of Law said in a statement yesterday.

Yasmine Yahya

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2017, with the headline 'Public consultation on changes to Trustees Act'. Print Edition | Subscribe