Many MAS warnings on investing in exotic finance products

We agree with Ms Camilia Ng on the importance of improving consumer awareness of the risks associated with investments in initial coin offerings (ICOs) (Do more to warn public of risks of initial coin offerings; May 21).

Indeed, over the past year, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has stepped up efforts to alert consumers of such risks.

We have issued several advisories to warn consumers to act with extreme caution should they wish to invest in such products.

ICO issuers are often located outside Singapore, making it difficult to verify their operations or seek recourse if an ICO turns out to be fraudulent or deceptive.

MAS' consumer advisories were widely featured in local news reports, TV programmes and online videos.

MoneySense, the national financial education programme, has included in its outreach efforts through TV programmes and online videos, advisories on digital tokens and will continue to enhance its financial education initiatives.

MAS will regulate an ICO if it is structured in the form of futures contracts or securities (such as a share or a debt).

Issuers, intermediaries, and operators of platforms that trade in tokens that are futures contracts or securities must comply with the relevant requirements on disclosures, licensing and combating of financial crime.

MAS and the relevant authorities will take action against anyone who contravenes our laws or regulations.

To date, no ICO issuer has registered a prospectus with MAS.

To better manage one's personal finance and make prudent investment choices, visit the MoneySense website at http://www.moneysense.gov.sg and Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MoneySENSE.

Jerome Lee

Director (Corporate Communications)

Monetary Authority of Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2018, with the headline 'Many MAS warnings on investing in exotic finance products'. Print Edition | Subscribe