Singapore's central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), has announced proposed measures to enhance money laundering surveillance of family offices. Family offices cater to the financial affairs of the ultra-wealthy and have seen a significant surge in numbers in Singapore.
MAS revealed that it has initiated a public consultation on the proposed changes, which aim to strengthen anti-money laundering (AML) efforts within the family office sector. The proposed measures include requiring Single Family Offices (SFOs) to engage an MAS-regulated financial institution to conduct money laundering checks. Additionally, SFOs would be obligated to report their total assets at the end of each calendar year.
Through these measures, MAS aims to improve its monitoring of SFOs operating in Singapore and mitigate any potential money laundering risks in the sector. The existing system allows SFOs to seek certain exemptions, but the proposed changes seek to enhance regulatory oversight and accountability within the industry.
According to MAS data, the number of SFOs in Singapore has seen a remarkable rise, increasing from 400 at the end of 2020 to 1,100 by the end of last year. This growth has been driven by ultra-high net worth families from Asia and other regions seeking a secure haven amidst global banking system uncertainties, geopolitical tensions, and economic instability. Notably, investors from China and Hong Kong have also been drawn to Singapore in recent years to escape stringent anti-COVID measures implemented elsewhere.
The consultation period for interested parties to submit their feedback on the proposed measures will be open until September 30, 2023. The outcome of this public consultation will play a pivotal role in shaping Singapore's efforts to strengthen its AML regime and maintain its position as a reputable financial hub for the super-rich.
By fLEXI tEAM