Tue, Mar 30, 2021

Singapore Regulatory Calendar 2021

Topic Update Date Firm Type

Proposed Notice on Controls Against Market Abuse

In August 2019, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) consulted on issuing a Notice on Controls Against Market Abuse (“Notice”) to improve controls and facilitate investigations into cases of market abuse, such as market manipulation and insider trading. MAS proposed enhanced requirements for the following: 

  • Identification of ultimate beneficial owners of orders and trades (O&T) executed in omnibus accounts
  • Recordkeeping of instructions received for broker-assisted O&T
  • Unique client device identifier for O&T executed via mobile trading applications
  • Cash payments and payments by third parties for non-account holders

The Notice will only apply to licensed and exempt financial institutions (FIs) in Singapore that undertake the regulated activity of dealing in capital market products.

There is no clear time frame for when the Notice will be issued, but MAS proposes a six-month transition period from the date of issuance of the Notice for FIs to implement the controls to comply with the requirements set out in the Notice.



Proposed Notice on Identity Verification

On November 10, 2020, the MAS consulted on the requirement that FIs use at least one of the various types of secure information to verify the identity of an individual (including an individual authorized to act on behalf of an entity) for non-face-to-face contact. The MAS stated that the aforesaid requirement take effect six months from the date of issuance of the proposed notice. The consultation closed on December 9, 2020.


Broker, PE, HF/IM, RMO/AE, PSP

Proposed Regulatory Approach for Derivative Contracts on Payment Tokens

In a consultation released on November 20, 2019, the MAS proposed to regulate under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) derivatives contracts that reference payment tokens as underlying assets (“payment token derivatives”). Specifically, the MAS proposed to regulate only Payment Token Derivatives listed and traded on approved exchanges in Singapore. To reduce the amplification of losses for retail investors, the MAS proposed additional measures when they trade in Payment Token Derivatives offered or distributed by MAS-regulated FIs; for example, collecting 1.5 times the standard amount of margin required for contracts offered by approved exchanges. These measures also include tailored risk warnings and restrictions on advertising. The MAS responded on May 15, 2020, to public feedback on the consultation and indicated that it would proceed with the proposed regulation. There is no clear commencement date for the new regulation.


Broker, RMO/AE

Proposed Amendments to the Payment Services Act 2019

On December 23, 2019, the MAS consulted on the proposed amendments to the Payment Services Act. The amendments were aligned with enhanced Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards, requiring countries to regulate virtual asset service providers (VASP) for anti-money laundering (AML)/counter-financing of terrorism (CFT) in light of the inherent money-laundering (ML)/terrorism financing (TF) risks posed. These proposed amendments expand the scope of the DPT service providers' activities to include:

  • Transfer of DPTs
  • Provision of custodian wallets for and on behalf of customers
  • Brokering of DPT transactions (without possession of money or DPTs by the DPT service provider).

The MAS also proposed to expand the definition of “cross-border money transfer service” in the Payment Services Act. The expanded definition would require any businesses in Singapore that arrange to transmit money accepted in a country or territory outside Singapore to another country or territory, whether as principal or agent, to be licensed under the Payment Service Act and be subject to AML/CFT requirements. Lastly, the MAS proposed other amendments to the Payment Services Act beyond the FATF AML/CFT-related amendments. These include powers for the MAS to impose user protection measures on certain DPT service providers and additional measures on any DPT service provider or class of DPT service providers by way of subsidiary legislation, where this was necessary or expedient. This was done to ensure financial stability, safeguard the efficacy of monetary policy and protect users, consumers or a section of the public. The MAS responded to public feedback on the consultation on November 4, 2020 indicating that it would proceed with the proposed amendments.


Affected classes of PSP

Proposed Amendments to the Payment Services Act on Scope of E-Money and Digital Payment Tokens

The MAS consulted on December 23, 2019, on the scope of e-money and digital payment tokens (DPTs) and whether their definitions in the Payment Services Act remain appropriate given the developments like stablecoins. The MAS also sought views on whether the user protection framework for holders of e-money and DPTs are still appropriate. It further asked if DPT service providers that issue custody wallets should be required to comply with user protection measures if the service providers hold DPTs above a certain threshold. The consultation closed on January 28, 2020. 


PSP, specifically e-money issuers and DPT service providers

Revision to Exemption Framework for Cross-Border Business Arrangements of Capital Market Intermediaries

On December 4, 2018, the MAS consulted on streamlining the exemption for foreign-related corporations (FRC) of Singapore-regulated firms from holding a license from the MAS to conduct regulated activities in Singapore. The MAS proposed boundary conditions to mitigate risk from cross-border arrangements, including notification and reporting requirements, regulatory statuses of FRCs and the Singapore entity, and internal controls. The MAS also proposed to replace the current case-by-case approval with ex-post notification to the MAS of such arrangements, where FIs must submit relevant attestation and information periodically. This enables the MAS to monitor and address the risks that may arise from such business arrangements. The MAS responded on June 5, 2020, to public feedback on the consultation, indicating it would proceed with the revised exemptions. There is no clear time frame as to when the change will take effect.


Broker, PE, HF/IM

Revisions to Misconduct Reporting Requirements

The MAS consulted in July 2018 to extend the misconduct reporting requirements to registered fund management companies (RFMCs) and introduce changes to the misconduct reporting requirements in order to provide greater clarity on the intended types of misconduct that should be reported to MAS. The proposals also require FIs to update the MAS on the outcome of police investigations and notify representatives when the representatives are under investigation to enable them to make full and accurate disclosures on their compliance history and past misconduct record should they apply to join a new principal company. The MAS also proposed standardized industry practices by mandating FIs to carry out and respond to reference check requests on representatives and setting out the mandatory information to be provided in a reference.


Broker, PE, HF/IM

Recognized Market Operators (RMO) Regime

The MAS consulted in May 2018 on proposals to introduce two additional tiers in the regulatory regime for market operators to allow the MAS to better calibrate the regulatory requirements and supervisory intensity based on systemic importance and target clientele. The proposed tiers within the RMO regime will provide market operators with greater flexibility to choose a regulatory tier that better matches their risk profile and business model.

The MAS plans to introduce RMO Tier 1 that is targeted at market operators with limited access to Singapore-based retail investors and RMO Tier 3 that is targeted at market operators having a significantly smaller scale of business compared to more established operators under the current Approved Exchanges and RMO regime. The market operators that qualify under the current RMO regime will be classified under RMO Tier 2.



Individual Accountability and Conduct Guidelines

On April 26, 2018, the MAS proposed to introduce the Guidelines on Individual Accountability and Conduct (“Guidelines”) to reinforce FIs' responsibilities in three key areas, namely promoting the individual accountability of senior managers, strengthening the oversight of employees in material risk functions and embedding standards of proper conduct among all employees. The proposals to be enacted via a new set of Guidelines sets out five accountability and conduct outcomes that FIs are expected to work towards. The MAS released a related consultation on June 6, 2019, seeking additional feedback on the revised scope of FIs to which the proposed Guidelines will be applied. The MAS proposed to extend the scope of application of the Guidelines to all FIs regulated by the MAS but sought to exclude smaller FIs with a headcount of less than 20. On September 10, 2020, the MAS issued the Guidelines, stating that FIs with a headcount of less than 50 will not ordinarily be expected to adopt the specific guidance described under the five outcomes. The MAS has allowed a one-year transitional period for firms to comply with the Guidelines.

Effective September 10, 2021

Broker, PE, HF/IM, RMO/AE, PSP

Proposed Revisions to Guidelines on Business Continuity Management (BCM)

The MAS consulted in March 2019 on the proposed revisions to the BCM Guidelines issued in 2003. The proposed changes are part of MAS’ efforts to help FIs strengthen their resilience to disruptions. The proposals include revising the definition of business function to a service that an FI ultimately provides to its customers, instead of the current focus being on the business processes performed by individual organizational units. The draft Guidelines also place more responsibilities on the board and senior management for the business continuity of their FI and revise the scope of each FI's business continuity plan, which includes a comprehensive risk assessment, understanding of internal and external business dependencies, crisis communication plans, and proper documentation and maintenance. Each FI is expected to test and audit its BCM to ensure their response and recovery arrangements are effective and developed based on sound understanding of existing systems and processes. There is no clear time frame as to when the Guidelines will be published, but FIs are expected to adopt the proposed Guidelines within a year following its publication.


Broker, PE, HF/IM, RMO/AE, PSP

Proposed Notice on Execution of Customers' Orders and Guidelines to the Notice

On November 20, 2017, the MAS consulted on the issuance of a draft notice and draft guidelines to the notice, requiring capital market intermediaries to have policies and procedures to place and/or execute customers' orders on the best available terms. The MAS also proposed an enhancement to the existing business conduct requirement relating to handling of customers’ orders. The MAS responded to public feedback on the consultation on September 3, 2020, and, on the same day, issued the Notice on Execution of Customers' Orders and the guidelines to the notice. The MAS has allowed an 18-month transition period from September 3, 2020, to implement the necessary changes.

March 3, 2022

Broker, HF/IM

Changes to Notification Requirements for Representatives Serving Only Non-Retail Customers

On September 25, 2017, the MAS consulted on streamlining the representative notification framework and apply the notification requirements only to representatives who serve retail customers. Under the proposed changes, the FIs would not be required to submit notifications to MAS when appointing representatives who serve only non-retail customers, as such customers are generally better able to protect their own interests. The MAS responded on January 5, 2021, to public feedback on the consultation paper, indicating that it would not proceed with their proposals.


Broker, PE, HF/IM

Technology Risk Management Guidelines

On March 7, 2019, the MAS consulted on the proposed revisions to its Technology Risk Management Guidelines (“Guidelines”) issued in 2013. The proposed revisions place greater focus on technology risk governance and oversight, software development and management, emerging technologies, and cyber resilience. To facilitate ease of reference by users, the proposed revisions also incorporate certain MAS circulars issued after July 2013 on vulnerability assessment and penetration testing, IT security risks posed by personal mobile devices, early detection of cyber intrusions and technology risk, and cyber security training for the FI’s board of directors. The consultation closed on April 8, 2019. The MAS responded to public feedback on the consultation on January 18, 2021. It further issued the revised Guidelines, which include new instructions on effective cyber surveillance, secure software development, adversarial attack simulation exercise, and management of cyber risks posed by the emerging technologies, such as the internet of things. The revised Guidelines are effective from January 18, 2021.

Effective January 18, 2021

Broker, PE, HF/IM, RMO/AE, PSP

Proposed Notice on Outsourcing

In September 2014, the MAS consulted on a proposed outsourcing notice that sets out minimum standards for FIs’ management of outsourcing arrangements. On February 7, 2019, the MAS released proposed outsourcing notices for banks and merchant banks, setting out requirements for banks and merchant banks relating to outsourcing arrangements that are material (material outsourcing arrangements). The MAS indicated it would seek feedback on the requirements applicable to outsourcing by other classes of FIs in due course. The MAS responded to public feedback on November 5, 2019, on the consultation of the proposed notice. It again reiterated that it would seek feedback on requirements that will apply to other classes of FIs, where relevant, at a later date.


Possible Broker, PE, HF/IM, RMO/AE, PSP

Draft Notices on the Competency Requirements for Representatives Conducting Regulated Activities Under the FAA and SFA

The MAS consulted on December 12, 2016, on the changes to minimum academic qualifications, examinations and continuing professional development training requirements for representatives of financial advisers and capital markets intermediaries. The MAS responded on September 25, 2017, to public feedback on the consultation. Then on September 4, 2020, the MAS consulted on legal amendments to the Notice on Minimum Entry and Examination Requirements for Representatives of Licensed Financial Advisers and Exempt Financial Advisers and Notice on Minimum Entry and Examination Requirements for Representatives of Holders of Capital Markets Services License and Exempt Financial Institutions to implement changes to the examination requirement. The consultation closed on October 5, 2020.



Guidelines on Environmental Risk Management (Asset Managers)

The MAS consulted on June 25, 2020, on the proposed guidelines to enhance asset managers' resilience to and management of environmental risk. The proposed guidelines set out sound practices in relation to asset managers' governance, risk management and disclosure of environmental risk. The consultation closed on August 7, 2020. The MAS responded on December 8, 2020, to public feedback on the consultation and issued the Guidelines on Environmental Risk Management (Asset Managers) (“Guidelines”) on the same date. The MAS will provide a transition period of 18 months from the date of issuance of the guidelines for asset managers to assess and implement the Guidelines as appropriate. The MAS has announced it will start engaging larger asset managers on their implementation progress from Q2 2021 onwards.

June 22, 2021


Proposed Amendments to the Capital Requirements for Locally Incorporated RMOs

The MAS consulted on October 23, 2020, on the proposed amendments to the capital requirements for locally incorporated RMOs. There are currently no direct liquidity requirements imposed on RMOs. The MAS proposed to introduce these by requiring RMOs to hold cash and cash equivalents of at least 25% of their annual operating costs. However, the MAS proposed to reduce the current solvency requirement on RMOs by requiring RMOs to hold eligible capital of at least the higher of: (i) 25% of their annual operating costs; or (ii) $250,000. The consultation closed on December 4, 2020.



New Omnibus Act for the Financial Sector

The MAS consulted on July 21, 2020, on a new Omnibus Act (“new Act”) for the financial sector. With the new Act, the provisions currently in the MAS Act that relate to the MAS' regulatory oversight of different FI classes will be moved to the new Act. Existing provisions that will be moved from the MAS Act to the new Act relate to the prevention of ML/TF, the control and resolution of FIs, and the oversight of financial sector dispute resolution schemes. The MAS also proposed to introduce new provisions in the following areas: i) a harmonized and expanded power to issue prohibition orders; ii) AML/CFT regulation of virtual asset service providers created in Singapore; iii) a harmonized power to impose requirements on technology risk management; and iv) providing mediators, adjudicators and employees of an operator of an approved dispute resolution scheme with statutory protection from liability.


Possible Broker, PE, HF/IM, RMO/AE, PSP

PE = Private equity fund manager
HF = Hedge fund manager
IM = Investment manager
RMO = Recognized market operator
AE = Approved exchange
PSP = Payment services provider

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