1 The Minister of Education and Deputy Chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) today introduced the Foreign Exchange and Money Transfer Businesses (Amendment) Bill 2005. As I mentioned earlier, the Act empowers the MAS to issue directions to require a transfer licence holder to post notices at his or her place of business. The warnings are intended to raise public awareness that MAS does and does not monitor with respect to the activities of the money transfer house. 14 Currently, an authorization to transfer may be granted to a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation. The bill requires that the money transfer licensee be incorporated with a minimum capital of $100,000. This aims to raise professional and anti-money laundering standards in the industry by ensuring that remittance licensees have a minimum level of financial resources necessary to implement anti-money laundering procedures for their operations. 22 To make deterrence more effective, the Bill provides for increased penalties for certain offences. For example, penalties for individuals who engage in an unlicensed foreign exchange or money transfer business will increase from $50,000 to $100,000. 10 In summary, for practical reasons, MAS cannot monitor money transfer houses to ensure their safety and soundness, but we will maintain basic regulatory safeguards that serve the interests of customers. This differs from banks and other financial actors, whose failure can pose systemic risks. For these actors, the MAS must exercise close and active supervision in addition to regulatory guarantees such as minimum capital requirements. 7 In order to raise public awareness of the scope of MAS`s oversight approach, transfer licensees must post notices on their premises to draw public attention to the fact that MAS does not monitor the safety and soundness of transfer licence holders.
MAS will also work with the Ministry of Labour to educate foreign workers, who are the main users of remittance services, on what to look for when sending their money abroad. 19 The MAS is empowered under the bill to authorize the appointment of directors, partners and major shareholders of a bureau de change or a holder of a remission authorization, as these persons may influence the management of the business. 11 It is therefore important for the public to understand that MAS cannot prevent the bankruptcy of money service companies. In cases of omissions attributable to fraud, the bill provides an additional means for clients to track the assets of the guilty partner or officer. However, clients must take responsibility for weighing the benefits and risks of using the remittance services offered by the various companies in the market, including the services offered by MAS-regulated banks. 2 The purpose of the amending Act is to refine and better reflect MAS`s supervisory approach to money transfer agencies. MAS does not monitor the security and soundness of money transfer houses. MAS`s supervision of money transfer houses and bureaux de change focuses on anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT).
This approach is consistent with practices in other reputable financial centres, where supervision is regulated in this way. The changes aim to raise professional and AML/CFT standards in the remittance industry. (i) The grounds on which MAS may revoke foreign exchange and transfer licences shall be extended to cases where the licensee has not complied with a written instruction issued to it by the MAS. (ii) a new provision is introduced to allow the MAS to suspend the changer`s licence and the transfer licence. at the place of withdrawal; and (iii) the circumstances under which a foreign exchange licence and a transfer licence may expire or be surrendered are set out. 20 The Bill requires the holder of a transfer licence to submit a certificate of completion to MAS when the transfer operation ceases. This certifies that all client funds have been received by the intended recipients and that reasonable arrangements have been made to settle unforeseen liabilities in the transfer business. 21 The Bill will give MAS the authority to disclose regulatory actions against the transfer or foreign exchange contractor where it is in the public interest to do so. The aim is to strengthen market discipline in the industry. 2 Sir, the purpose of this Bill is to amend the Foreign Exchange and Money Transfers Businesses Act (Cap. 187). The amendments are intended to refine and better reflect MAS`s oversight approach to transfer and changer licence holders.
I would like to stress at the outset that the monitoring of these activities by the MAS focuses on the fight against money laundering (AML) and the financing of terrorism (CFT). MAS does not monitor the safety and soundness of these licensees. This approach is similar to that of other reputable financial centres and gives clients the responsibility to choose their money transfer channels wisely. 9 In addition to these existing measures, the bill now provides that managers, partners or directors of companies holding a bureau de change licence or an authorization to transfer may be held personally liable for losses incurred if the judge finds that the licensee has carried out his activity fraudulently or fraudulently. These measures are intended to combat fraudulent practices and to provide customers and creditors with some recourse in the event of loss. :(a) Transfer Licence Holder Requirement to Incorporate as a Minimum Capital Corporation (Section 7B) – Currently, the transfer licence holder may be incorporated as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation. The proposed amendment requires the holder of a transfer licence to be registered as a business and have a minimum capital of S$100,000. (c) Extension of liability for losses incurred in certain circumstances to officers or partners of a licensee (section 21) – Officers of a limited partnership or partners of a limited liability limited partnership are not currently liable for losses incurred if the holder of a money changer licence or transfer licence has fraudulently carried out business. The proposed amendment will allow victims of fraud to legally contact the licensee`s officers or partners. d) Increased penalties – Penalties for certain offences under the CSRLA will be increased to achieve a more effective deterrent objective. 12 The introduction of higher access requirements for remittance licensees will eliminate weaker players in the industry. However, I want to assure the House that the new bill will not deprive the public of money transfer and foreign exchange services.