Public feedback sought on new rules for dealers of precious stones and metals

The Ministry of Law said the precious stones and metals dealers sector is exposed to inherent money laundering and terrorism financing risks. PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Law (MinLaw) is seeking public feedback on a new anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regulatory regime for precious stones and metals dealers (PSMD).

A consultation period of one month - from Sept 13 to Oct 12 - has been set.

Currently, PSMDs are not subject to AML/CFT supervision or requirements beyond the Cash Transaction Reporting regime introduced in 2014.

MinLaw said that given precious stones and metals are portable, valuable, and easily convertible to cash, the PSMD sector is exposed to inherent money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

"The new regime will close these gaps, mitigate ML/TF (money laundering and terrorism financing) risks, and level up AML/CFT standards and increase trust in the sector. This will enhance the effectiveness of Singapore's AML/CFT regime, combat crime and improve security, not only domestically but also globally," MinLaw said.

The proposed regime is outlined in a public consultation paper and details, among others:

  1. The definition of a dealer, and precious stones, metals, and products, as stipulated in the corruption, drug trafficking and other serious crimes regulations;
  2. All PSMDs, except pawnbrokers and foreign PSMDs, are required to register with MinLaw; and
  3. PSMDs will be required to perform customer due diligence (CDD), keep relevant transaction and CDD records, file suspicious transactions reports and cash transactions reports, conduct internal ML/TF risk assessments, and introduce internal policies, procedures and controls to address ML/TF risks.

In developing the regulatory framework, MinLaw had conducted an industry survey and held informal discussions with industry stakeholders. MinLaw has also studied the Financial Action Task Force's requirements and global best practices for AML/CFT regulation.

"It will conduct outreach and engagement sessions to help PSMDs understand the requirements of the new regime, manage compliance costs, and identify and address potential difficulties the sector might face in meeting the requirements under the new regime," MinLaw said.

The full public consultation paper can be viewed here.

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