As a regulator of the financial services industry, MAS issues various instruments under Acts it administers. Find out about the instruments, including how they are classified and their legal effect.
The Acts contain statutory laws under the purview of MAS which are passed by Parliament. These have the force of law and are published in the Government Gazette.
2. Subsidiary Legislation
Subsidiary legislation is issued under the authority of the relevant Acts. They typically flesh out the provisions of an Act and spell out in greater detail the requirements that financial institutions or other specified persons (e.g. a financial adviser's representative) have to adhere to.
Subsidiary legislation has the force of law and may specify that a contravention is a criminal offence. They are also published in the Government Gazette.
Directions detail specific instructions to financial institutions or other specified persons to ensure compliance. They have legal effect, meaning that MAS could specify whether a contravention of a direction is a criminal offence.
Directions consist of the following:
Directives primarily impose legally binding requirements on an individual financial institution or a specified person.
Note: Directives to merchant banks are essentially "Notices" for the purposes of this classification. For historical reasons, they are known as directives.
Notices primarily impose legally binding requirements on a specified class of financial institutions or persons.
Guidelines set out principles or "best practice standards" that govern the conduct of specified institutions or persons.
Contravening guidelines is not a criminal offence and does not attract civil penalties, but specified institutions or persons should observe the spirit of these guidelines.
How well an institution or person observes the guidelines may have an impact on MAS' overall risk assessment of that institution or person.
Codes are a system of rules governing the conduct of certain specified activities. Codes are non-statutory and do not have the force of law. However, a breach of a Code may attract certain non-statutory sanctions like private reprimand or public censure.
A failure to abide by a code does not in itself amount to a criminal offence but may have certain consequences.
- (administered by the Securities Industry Council) - refer to Part VIII and section 321 of the (1.04 MB) for its effect.
- - refer to Part XIII, Division 2 and section 321 of the Securities and Futures Act for its effect (2.11 MB)
- - refer to section 321 of the Securities and Futures Act for its effect. (135.1 KB)
6. Practice Notes
Practice notes are meant to guide specified institutions or persons on administrative procedures on matters such as licensing, reporting and compliance.
Contravening a practice note is not a criminal offence, unless a procedure stated in the practice note is also required by an Act or regulation.
Circulars are documents which are sent to specified persons for their information or are published on the MAS website for public information. Circulars have no legal effect.
8. Policy Statements
Policy statements outline broadly the major policies of MAS.