Full review of asset transfer done: StanChart

Standard Chartered Bank said it has conducted a full review regarding a transfer of US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion) of private bank client assets from the English Channel isle of Guernsey to Singapore.
Standard Chartered Bank said it has conducted a full review regarding a transfer of US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion) of private bank client assets from the English Channel isle of Guernsey to Singapore.PHOTO: REUTERS

Standard Chartered Bank said it has conducted a full review regarding a transfer of US$1.4 billion (S$1.9 billion) of private bank client assets from the English Channel isle of Guernsey to Singapore.

A StanChart spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday that its report has been made available to the authorities.

"The bank is currently working closely with regulators, and therefore we are unable to provide any more information," he added.

The assets, which were held in the bank's Guernsey trust unit for mainly Indonesian clients, were moved in late 2015, Bloomberg reported.

This was done before Guernsey - known to be a low-tax, offshore financial centre - adopted the Common Reporting Standard at the start of last year. StanChart closed operations on the island last year.

StanChart's response comes after the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said on Monday night that it takes a serious view of the matter.

The regulator added: "MAS will take firm action against any financial institution or individual that is found to have breached requirements relating to anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.

"As our supervisory probe is still ongoing, we are unable to provide more information at this juncture."

Indonesia is investigating the issue as well. A spokesman for Indonesia's Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre had said its officials are in Singapore for discussions relating to the transfers.

 

CIMB Private Bank economist Song Seng Wun told The Straits Times: "For Singapore, it is always about maintaining law. If the law of the land is broken by anyone in any shape or form, and they are caught, there will be penalties for that.

"In the case of finance, given such huge volumes of financial transaction through Singapore, inevitably there will be some who will try to take advantage of the volume to sneak in. I have not seen Singapore's reputation being adversely affected by what has happened."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Full review of asset transfer done: StanChart'. Print Edition | Subscribe