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MAS explains its investigative powers covering financial sector in latest enforcement monograph

THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published an enforcement monograph that explains how it selects matters for investigation, as well as the investigative powers and enforcement actions it can take against misconduct in the financial sector.

Published on Monday, the new enforcement monograph supersedes an earlier one published in 2016, which covered enforcement only within the capital markets.

The MAS has run a centralised enforcement department since 2016, under which a specialised team of investigators, surveillance and forensic officers and lawyers are responsible for enforcement across the banking sector, insurance and capital markets.

In its monograph, the MAS explained how it prioritises cases for investigation, and which cases it chooses to take to the end.

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Some of the criteria it considers when choosing which cases to elevate to a full investigation include the level of public interest, the number of victims involved, the amount lost or gained, the sophistication of scheme, reputational damage caused to the industry, as well as the prevalence of that form of misconduct.

The MAS regulates more than 1,500 financial institutions in Singapore and is responsible for the administration of 23 primary statutes.

One of its investigative powers includes the power to order companies to hand over documents. Under the Securities and Futures Act, the MAS also has the ability to apply for injunctions to prevent the dissipation of property, to ensure sufficient funds to satisfy civil penalty.

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