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New bill to expand MAS’ investigative powers proposed

Some of the expanded powers are entering premises without notice.

A new bill is proposing to enhance the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s investigative powers in the financial sector.

In a recent parliamentary session, Alvin Tan, Minister of State for the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and the Ministry of Trade and Industry, presented the Financial Institutions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2024 (FIMA Bill) on behalf of Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister-in-charge of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). 

The FIMA Bill aims to enhance and rationalize MAS' investigative, reprimand, supervisory, and inspection powers across various Acts under MAS' purview.

The key amendments in the FIMA Bill can be categorised into four areas. 

First, enhancements to MAS' investigative powers include compelling individuals to attend interviews and record statements, entering premises without prior notice, obtaining court warrants to seize evidence, and facilitating the transfer of evidence between MAS and other agencies. 

Second, the FIMA Bill clarifies MAS' reprimand powers, making it explicit that MAS can reprimand individuals even if they were relevant persons at the time of misconduct but have since ceased to be regulated by MAS. Third, MAS is empowered to issue directions to capital markets services license holders conducting unregulated businesses to mitigate contagion risks. 

Lastly, there are amendments to enhance supervisory and inspection powers under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA), Financial Advisers Act (FAA), and Trust Companies Act (TCA).

Furthermore, MAS conducted public consultations on key amendments, incorporating received comments into the FIMA Bill. The changes aim to align MAS' powers, ensuring consistency and efficiency across different Acts, and to address emerging challenges in the financial landscape.

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