MAS annual report positions Singapore as key financial centre

As this year’s annual report testifies, the MAS’s focus remains on presenting Singapore as a global financial centre.

The comprehensive report, which was published in July, looked at a number of elements of MAS activity and highlighted their achievements and ambition around a few key themes including resilience, integrity, innovation and sustainability.

Responsible and Trusted

Combatting Money Laundering and Terrorism and Proliferation Financing tops the list with the MAS focused on improving the industry’s efficiency and effectiveness using technology, international co-operation and providing guidance to institutions.

The regulator has also prioritised the effective enforcement of any misconduct and sought to promote good culture and conduct through recent revisions of its corporate governance guidelines.

Robust and Resilient

To ensure the financial sector remains operationally resilient when delivering critical business services to customers, the MAS proposed ways to strengthen institutions’ cyber security and revised its Guidelines on Business Continuity Management.

The MAS also worked with third parties to empower consumers by promoting financial resilience through adequate financial planning and even issued guidance on the promotion of cryptocurrency trading to the public.

The annual report also referred to the need for ‘well-functioning capital markets’ to create a robust financial centre. Singapore Exchange introduced SPACs listings to boost equity financing through its listings and provided support to Singapore’s equity research ecosystem.

Innovative and Inclusive

The MAS continues to consider embracing technology as one of its global differentiators.

The sixth Singapore FinTech Festival took place in 2021. Together with the Smart Nation and Digital Government Office, the MAS has launched the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Programme in Finance to develop Singapore into a global hub for AI. The MAS also committed S$42 million to support institutions adopting technology solutions for risk management and regulatory compliance.

As an inclusive financial centre, international cooperation regionally and globally is key. This can be seen in the MAS and SEC of Thailand’s recent launch of the Thailand-Singapore Depositary Receipts linkage via the Singapore Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Thailand. The UK and Singapore also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for more significant financial cooperation.

Greening the Financial System 

To ensure Singapore’s financial sector remains environmentally sustainable for long-term growth, substantial efforts are required to green the financial system. The MAS strengthened the financial sector’s resilience to environmental risks by developing climate risk capabilities through industry-wide stress tests and providing institutions guidance on environmental risk management 

The development of the Green Finance Ecosystem in Singapore has also helped launch the Green Finance Industry Taskforce, and forged collaborations with the international community to explore opportunities for greater financial cooperation.  

To drive further greening of the financial system, the MAS also allocated US$1.8 billion of Singapore’s Official Foreign Reserves through its Green Investment Programme to five asset managers. They will manage equity and fixed income mandates focused on climate change and the environment. 

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