Local anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regime robust: Govt agencies

Singapore's openness as an international transport hub and financial centre exposes it as a potential transit point for illicit money, but a thorough review has found that effective preventive measures are either in place or in the process of being implemented.

This two-year study, conducted by various Government agencies, took a close look at 22 sectors to assess the systems they had in place to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

These comprised 14 financial sub-sectors, such as banks, remittance agents and fund managers, and eight non-financial sectors, including casinos, pawnbrokers and law firms.

This is the first such study to be conducted here.

The more vulnerable sectors are those that conduct cross-border business and are cash-intensive, the study found. However, many of them, such as banks and casinos, already have relevant controls in place including customer due diligence, record keeping and ongoing transaction monitoring.

Singapore has also established an extensive international cooperation network with other jurisdictions for supervision and law enforcement to better combat transnational crime.

However, the study found a number of sectors where controls are relatively less robust. These include remittance agents, money changers, Internet-based stored value facility holders, corporate service providers and pawnbrokers.

Several areas have also been identified for further study, including virtual currencies such as Bitcoin, precious stones and metals dealers and the Singapore Freeport.

The authorities will seek to better understand how money laundering and terrorist financing can be carried out through these channels and review international best practices to determine whether any safeguards and measures are needed.