Reply to Parliamentary Question on Measures to Limit Exposure of Retail Investors in Trading and Investments in Crypto Assets
QUESTION NO 673
NOTICE PAPER 402 OF 2021
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 10 May 2021
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Joan Pereira, MP, Tanjong Pagar GRC
To ask the Prime Minister regarding trading and investments in crypto assets (a) what measures are in place to limit the exposure of retail investors to these highly risky products; and (b) how will the Government work with individuals and families to spot signs of distress by victims and assist them.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1. MAS has repeatedly cautioned that investing in cryptocurrencies is risky and not suitable for retail investors. The prices of most cryptocurrencies are subject to speculative swings.
2. Those who choose to trade in cryptocurrencies should therefore understand the significant risks they are taking on, and verify the credentials of the entities involved before dealing with them. This should include checking the MAS Investor Alert List which identifies businesses that have falsely purported to be licensed and regulated by MAS.
3. Our best defence is an informed public. Earlier this month, MoneySense, Singapore’s national financial education programme, launched a campaign to raise awareness of the risks of investment scams involving cryptocurrencies and online trading. Consumers are educated to spot red flags such as the promise of quick and substantial profits. If promised returns look too good to be true, they are.
4. MAS continues to watch developments in the cryptocurrency space and will regularly review the adequacy and appropriateness of our regulations. Consumers who suspect that a scheme involving cryptocurrencies could be fraudulent or misused for other unlawful activities should report such cases to the Police.
5. Ms Pereira also asked how the Government will help individuals in financial distress. They can call the National CARE Hotline for support. Family members, who observe their loved ones in distress can also encourage them to call the Hotline. The CARE Officers will do their best to offer support and direct them to possible avenues for additional assistance. For instance, if an individual is in debt after having incurred investment or financial losses, he or she may be directed to Credit Counselling Singapore, which will work with them to understand their financial situation and facilitate appropriate debt repayment arrangements with their creditors.