In addition to its role as the nation’s central bank, which includes the issuance of currency, the Monetary Authority of Singapore or MAS is responsible for overseeing all financial institutions in Singapore. This regulatory scope includes all banks, financial advisors, capital market intermediaries, insurers and the local stock exchange.
In contrast to the Federal Reserve and virtually all other major central banks, the MAS does not regulate the Singapore monetary system through the adjustment of benchmark interest rates.
Instead, the MAS intervenes directly in the Singapore Dollar market, thereby using the mechanism of foreign exchange manipulation to have an impact on its monetary policy.
The MAS was founded in 1971 after the passing of the Monetary Authority of Singapore Act in 1970. The financial institution is the central bank of Singapore, and its mandate includes promoting sustained economic growth for Singapore through the use of non-inflationary means and appropriate monetary policy.
Location and Jurisdiction
The Monetary Authority of Singapore is located at the MAS Building in the sovereign city state of the Republic of Singapore, and its regulatory jurisdiction is limited to Singapore. The official website of the MAS is situated at http://www.mas.gov.sg/ .
The MAS regulates every element of monetary, financial and banking aspects in Singapore. This includes the agency’s Security Industry Council, which regulates and enforces the Singapore Code on Takeovers and Mergers.
After merging with the Singapore Board of Commissions of Currency in October of 2002, the MAS assumed the responsibility of issuing the nation’s currency. In addition to issuing Singapore Dollars, the agency has the authority to:
- Accept monetary deposits and pay interest on these deposits.
- Buy and sell and accept gold coins and bullion on deposit.
- Issue demand drafts or other remittances made payable to its office or offices of its agencies or correspondents.
- Sell, purchase and repurchase Government Treasury Bills.
- Grant any loan, overdraft, advance or other credit facility to the government on the terms that the agency deems fit.
- Extensive measures for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing.
- Enforce and inspect financial institutions that fall under its jurisdiction.
This is just a partial list of the agency’s responsibilities. As far as the MAS’ role among international regulatory agencies is concerned, the MAS is a member of major regional groupings, and it participates in events such as the ASEAN Central Bank Governors Meetings and the Executives’ Meeting of East Asia-Pacific Central Banks or EMEAP.
In the international arena, the agency is a member of the International Monetary Fund or IMF; the World Bank; the Bank for International Settlements or BIS; and the Financial Stability Board or FSB. The agency is also part of international standard setting bodies, such as the Basel Committee of Banking Supervision or BCBS; the International Association of Insurance Supervisors or IAIS; and the International Organization of Securities Commission or IOSCO.
The MAS has developed close bonds with their regional central banking counterparts, which include central banks in China, Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to the U.S. Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and various Latin American central banks and regulatory agencies.
MAS in the News
On May 30, 2017, MAS imposed fines of SGD $0.7 million on Credit Suisse and SGD $0.9 million on United Overseas Bank or UOB for breaches of MAS Notice 626 – Prevention of Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism. Here’s the article on that from CNBC:
On May 25th, 2017, the MAS joined the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, The Bank of Korea , the Reserve Bank of India and the Reserve Bank of Australia in welcoming the publication of the FX Global Code. Here’s the link to the MAS’s press release: