From May 2016 to July 2017, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) took enforcement action against 3 fund managers for late regulatory filings.
Among other things, the firms were late in informing MAS of changes in their office address and director’s information and director’s resignation. They also failed to submit their auditor’s report and financial statements and pay annual fees on time.
MAS’ enforcement action ranged from reprimanding a firm and its director, to accepting a composition fine from another and to even stopping one firm from carrying on fund management in Singapore totally.
MAS has repeatedly stated that it expects CEOs and directors to ensure their firms’ compliance and effectiveness of internal controls. In its 7 July 2017 enforcement action, the MAS took a further step to impute the firm’s regulatory breaches as its director’s failure to discharge his duty. On this basis, the MAS found misconduct on the director’s part and reprimanded him in his personal capacity.
This may herald a trend to come of MAS reprimanding individuals in their personal capacity for misconduct arising from a firm’s compliance breaches. The MAS can reprimand not just directors and CEOs in their personal capacity but also managers and members of the management committee of firms.
To safeguard themselves and their firms financially and reputationally, management and directors of financial firms should pay greater attention to compliance. At the minimum, management and directors must ensure that their firms have effective compliance monitoring and make prompt regulatory filings. Internal audits should also be conducted to periodically check that firms’ compliance and internal control frameworks are updated and working as they should.