In a significant move that could have far-reaching implications for crypto firms, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is seeking expanded powers through the Financial Institutions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2024, currently under consideration by the country’s parliament.
The proposed amendments, as outlined in the Bill’s Explanatory Brief, were introduced by Minister of State Alvin Tan on behalf of Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong. The bill aims to enhance and rationalize MAS’ investigative, reprimand, supervisory, and inspection powers across various Acts under its purview.
Key amendments include strengthening MAS’ investigative powers and allowing the authority to compel individuals to attend interviews and record statements. The power to enter premises without a warrant, a vital investigation tool, would also be expanded. Additionally, MAS seeks the ability to obtain a court warrant to seize evidence under the Insurance Act 1966, the Payment Services Act 2019, and the Financial Services and Markets Act 2022.
Crypto Oversight: MAS Targets Unregulated Businesses By CMSL Holders
One notable change is the extension of MAS’ powers to issue directions to capital markets services license holders (CMSL holders) engaging in unregulated business, such as trading bitcoin futures and other payment token derivatives on overseas exchanges. The bill would empower MAS to issue written directions regarding the minimum standards and safeguards for such activities, aiming to mitigate contagion risks to regulated activities.
Another amendment clarifies MAS’ reprimand powers, making it explicit that the authority could reprimand individuals who were “relevant persons” at the time of the misconduct, even if MAS no longer regulates them or has left the employ of a regulated financial institution.
The bill also seeks to enhance supervisory and inspection powers across various Acts, ensuring consistency and alignment with the Banking Act 1970. Key changes include approval requirements for appointing key persons in recognized market operators and clearing houses, refined approval requirements for controllers of CMSL holders, and expanded powers for MAS to approve agents appointed by foreign regulators for inspections.
The proposed legislation follows public consultation, incorporating feedback into the bill where appropriate. If passed, these amendments could significantly shift MAS’ regulatory approach, particularly affecting crypto firms engaging in unregulated businesses.
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