Responsible and Trusted Financial Centre

Combating Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing

MAS stopped issuing S$1,000 notes to pre-empt money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risks

3 November 2020

Aligning with international norms, MAS discontinued the issuance of S$1,000 notes from 1 January 2021, as a pre-emptive measure to mitigate the higher ML/TF risks associated with large denomination notes. MAS encourages the use of electronic payments such as PayNow and FAST.

MAS enhanced the Payment Services Act to expand the regulatory scope over digital payment token services

 4 January 2021

Parliament approved amendments to the Payment Services Act to strengthen the sector’s resilience against ML/TF risks.  In particular, the scope of digital payment token (DPT) services subject to MAS regulation was expanded, to better mitigate the risk of criminals laundering illicit assets using DPTs. The definition of cross border money transfer services in the Act was also expanded to allow MAS to address ML/TF risks arising from the transfers of money, facilitated by payments institutions in Singapore, even in cases where the moneys do not flow through Singapore. The amendments also granted MAS the power to impose measures on DPT service providers to better safeguard consumer interests, as well as maintain financial stability and safeguard the efficacy of monetary policy. 

MAS issued guidance to support effective implementation of anti-money-laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) controls by new licensees  

26 March 2021

In March 2021, MAS published additional guidance for DPT service providers to facilitate their implementation of effective AML/CFT controls. The guidance included key observations from MAS’ surveillance efforts to help raise industry risk awareness and vigilance of ML/TF risks in the sector.

MAS continued to work with financial institutions to combat ML/TF 


MAS completed AML/CFT thematic inspections on financial institutions (FIs) with a focus on areas with higher risks and vulnerabilities. These areas included the potential misuse of shell and front companies, the conduct of enterprise-wide risk assessments, as well as sectors with higher ML/TF risks such as private banking, licensed trust companies and external asset managers. Key observations and best practices from these examinations were published in supervisory guidance papers. To uplift industry standards, MAS also organised virtual town hall sessions to engage the industry on its AML/CFT regulatory framework and supervisory expectations.

MAS enhanced its use of technology to support AML/CFT risk surveillance and supervision. Risk insights gleaned from data analytics were used to identify higher-risk activities at FIs for supervisory scrutiny.  In the capital markets sector, MAS also used additional machine-readable information obtained from FIs to assess AML/CFT controls. This new approach enables MAS to better identify control weaknesses for further supervisory attention.

MAS engaged financial institutions on maintaining AML/CFT resilience through the COVID-19 pandemic


MAS continuously engaged financial institutions and industry associations during the COVID-19 pandemic to better understand the AML/CFT challenges faced by the industry and to ensure continued vigilance against emerging ML/TF risks. MAS issued additional guidance in April 2020 to clarify its AML/CFT expectations and help FIs direct their resources to focus on higher ML/TF risk areas during the pandemic. MAS also partnered the Singapore Police Force’s Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) to issue a joint advisory in April 2020 to share emerging ML/TF risk typologies related to COVID-19 in order to strengthen FI’s detection capabilities.

MAS actively contributed to shaping international AML/CFT standards


MAS continued to be active at the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and as the co-chair of the FATF Policy Development Group, it was responsible for recommending changes to global AML/CFT standards. In addition, MAS co-led project groups to produce FATF guidance on risk-based supervision and review FATF’s peer assessment methodology.