Explanatory Brief: Monetary Authority of Singapore (Amendment) Bill
1 The Minister for Trade & Industry and Deputy Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Mr Lim Hng Kiang, today moved the Monetary Authority of Singapore (Amendment) Bill ("the Bill") for first reading in Parliament. The Bill will be read a second time at the next available Parliamentary sitting.
2 The Bill seeks to enable MAS to respond more effectively to the fast changing global financial landscape.
3 The amendments are aimed at improving accountability and governance; streamlining of operations and revising the scope of MAS' powers to address emerging issues.
4 To better meet our international obligations and keep pace with evolving international standards on anti-money laundering and countering financing of terrorism (AML/CFT), the MAS Act will include a new section 27B to enable MAS to issue regulations or directions on AML/CFT matters. The directions currently issued under various Acts will be consolidated under this new section.
5 To provide consumers with recourse to an independent and efficient dispute resolution mechanism, new powers will be introduced so that MAS may approve schemes for the resolution of disputes arising from the provision of financial services in Singapore.
6 The amendments also streamline some of MAS' existing operations and update the legislation to better reflect the current reality. For example, section 9(5) will be amended to allow a Deputy Managing Director or Assistant Managing Director, besides a Board director, to be appointed as acting Managing Director by the Minister.
7 The key changes in the Bill are summarised as follows:
(a) Improving Accountability and Governance
(i) to clarify that MAS' objects and functions include acting as the central bank, integrated financial services supervisor, manager of Singapore's official foreign reserves and financial sector developer;
(ii) to clarify the MAS Board's accountability to the Minister by providing for the Board to furnish the Minister with information regarding MAS upon request by the Minister;
(iii) to provide for the reporting of MAS' performance against its objects in its annual report;
(iv) to make explicit the conditions under which MAS would be allowed to lend to the Government and public authorities;
(b) Streamlining Operations
(i) to provide that the Minister may (apart from appointing a Board director), with the President's concurrence, appoint an officer of MAS who is an assistant managing director or above to discharge the managing director's duties during the his absence;
(ii) to enable the MAS Board to approve new securities and investments that MAS may purchase or sell;
(c) Revising the scope of MAS' powers
(i) to empower MAS to issue regulations or directions to deal with money-laundering and terrorism financing;
(ii) to empower MAS to approve dispute resolution schemes for the resolution of disputes arising from the provision of financial services in Singapore. MAS would also be able to require a financial institution to be a member of an approved dispute resolution scheme and to comply with the prescribed terms of membership;
(iii) to include a general power to compound offences under the MAS Act.