Risks posed by money laundering and the financing of terrorism have dramatically increased in Singapore, according to a recent survey of the city-state’s financial institutions conducted by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
The MAS’s latest annual Financial Stability Review, published Monday, said 23 percent of chief risk officers at Singapore-based financial institutions reported money laundering and terrorism financing were perceived risks, up from just 2 percent in April.
As a result, money laundering and terrorism financing moved up on the list of perceptions of risk to the country’s financial system to fourth, behind macrofinancial risk, geopolitical risk, and technology/cyber risks. Money laundering and terrorism financing had been ranked seventh by financial institutions in April’s review.
The report attributed the spike to the $2 billion money laundering ring in which wealthy individuals are accused of laundering criminal proceeds. The scandal, uncovered in August, has exposed Singapore’s largest bank, DBS, as well as reportedly extending to foreign banks like Credit Suisse.
Respondents to the survey indicated risks posed by money laundering and terrorism financing “would continue to be a major challenge for global financial hubs given their open capital accounts and large gross capital flows,” the report said.
The MAS said it is important for the regulator to “continue working closely with the industry to identify and disrupt illicit activities, in order to maintain a trusted and thriving financial system in Singapore.”
The MAS indicated it would enhance surveillance and defense against money laundering and terrorism financing risks, “including through the Collaborative Sharing of ML/TF Information and Cases (COSMIC) platform that will be introduced in 2024.
The report explained COSMIC is a “digital platform MAS is codeveloping with participating banks in Singapore that will allow these banks to share with one another information on customers whose profile or behavior exhibits potential financial crime concerns.”