MAS has not asked banks to ‘keep quiet’ about origins of wealth inflows into Singapore: Private banking group

MAS has not asked banks to 'keep quiet' about origins of wealth inflows into Singapore: Private banking group
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) building. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has not instructed banks to “keep quiet” about the origins of wealth inflows into Singapore, the Private Banking Industry Group (PBIG) said on Friday (Apr 14).

The industry group’s statement was issued following a Financial Times article that said MAS had issued a “tacit directive” to banks, instructing them to avoid discussing the sources of wealth inflows.

The article published on Friday claimed that the directive was made during a meeting of an industry group comprising bankers and regulators on Feb 20.

Although China was not mentioned by name during the meeting, the report cited three people with knowledge of the talks as saying that “it was clear regulators were referring to the country”.

PBIG refuted these claims and said that the central bank has not issued any directive to banks, “tacit or otherwise”.

At the Feb 20 meeting, the PBIG noted that “while public commentary tended to focus on fund flows from China into Singapore, the sources of overall inflows into Singapore in fact remain diversified”.

The increased fund flows into Singapore were from high net-worth individuals from different markets, said the group.

“The meeting agreed that, in the face of increased fund flows into Singapore, it was important to maintain robust risk management controls to safeguard against money laundering and terrorism financing risks,” added PBIG.

The group said that the meeting also discussed how to facilitate the deployment of wealth to purposeful causes, given the growing interest from family offices in philanthropy and other activities that will benefit Singapore and the region.

The PBIG is currently co-chaired by MAS and UBS, having been re-constituted from the Private Banking Advisory Group in 2011.

The group holds thrice-yearly meetings to discuss matters concerning the trust, reputation and growth of Singapore’s private banking industry.

Source: CNA/nh(zl)