The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has fined two local subsidiaries of British banking group Standard Chartered a total of S$6.4m ($4.8m) for flouting anti-money laundering (AML) and anti-terrorism financing rules.
As part of the agreement, Standard Chartered Bank, Singapore Branch (SCBS) will pay S$5.2m, while Standard Chartered Trust Singapore (SCTS) will pay S$1.2m to settle the allegations.
The violations took place during the transfer of SCBS clients’ trust accounts to Singapore from Guernsey between December 2015 and January 2016.
The watchdog accused the firm of having unsatisfactory risk management systems and also doubted the timing of the breaches, which it said, were close on the heels of Guernsey’s implementation of the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) for the Automatic Exchange of Financial Account Information in Tax Matters.
CRS is an initiative endorsed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which aims to tackle tax evasion by enabling automatic exchange of tax and financial information on a global level.
The bank was also accused of failing to evaluate the risk and flagging it timely.
MAS deputy managing director Ong Chong Tee said: “MAS requires financial institutions to adequately assess money laundering risks when deciding whether to accept customers. They should also have in place good systems and processes to monitor customer transactions.”
The regulator also said that in deciding the settlement it considered the companies’ prompt remedial measures to address the shortfalls.
In response, the bank said: “We take this matter very seriously. We proactively reported it to the authorities, conducted a thorough review of the relevant trust structures, and made structural and procedural changes to ensure that our employees are better equipped to identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks.”