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MAS, CAD raid broking firms in probe into possible violations

Those hauled in for questioning said to be remisiers; MAS says documents and other items also seized

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the police's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) raided at least four broking houses in Singapore on Monday, market sources said.

Singapore

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the police's Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) raided at least four broking houses in Singapore on Monday, market sources said.

White-collar crime investigators visited the trading floors of DBS Vickers, Maybank Kim Eng, OCBC Securities and Phillip Securities on Monday to take some people in for questioning. They also took away certain items. Representatives for the broking houses declined to comment, in line with the usual policy of staying mum on official investigations.

The specific nature of the investigations is not known, but sources said that the people taken for questioning were believed to be remisiers.

An MAS spokesman said: "The Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore Police Force are jointly investigating possible contraventions of the Securities and Futures Act (Chapter 289) and have obtained documents and items from several broking firms and trading representatives. As investigations are ongoing, we are not able to provide further information."

The Securities and Futures Act governs the activities and institutions involved in the capital markets.

Simultaneous raids on so many broking firms are unusual.

Trading floors were abuzz on Tuesday, with many wondering what may have led to the raids. The prevailing bet appears to be that it's not related to the activities surrounding the October 2013 penny stock crash, which was the last time a major raid took place.

That investigation, which is the largest securities fraud probe ever conducted in Singapore, is ongoing, although government lawyers have indicated that charges could be filed this year.

One trader said: "There are many stocks that have crashed over the past year and many of them could be candidates."

Since March 2015, MAS and CAD have been jointly investigating market misconduct in an effort to streamline and strengthen enforcement.