Private banking group denies MAS told banks to keep quiet about origins of wealth inflows

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The Business Times – THE Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has not issued any directive – tacit or otherwise – to banks to avoid discussing the origins of wealth inflows into Singapore, the Private Banking Industry Group (PBIG) said on Friday (Apr 14), in response to statements in a report in Financial Times (FT).

The PBIG, which comprises private-banking industry representatives, is co-chaired by MAS and UBS.

The FT report published on Friday (Apr 14) said that as “wealthy Chinese funnel billions” into Singapore, the MAS gave a tacit directive at an industry group meeting on Feb 20 not to discuss the “significant sums of money” entering the country.

The financial newspaper cited sources with knowledge of the talks as saying that this has become a “politically sensitive issue” domestically, and that the MAS wants banks to keep public discussion on it to a minimum.

FT quoted “one banker from an international bank” as having said: “It was obvious that they [the MAS] were referring to China, with all the press about family offices setting up here and mainlanders moving over, though they didn’t single out a particular country.”

China was not mentioned by name at the meeting, the report added.

Quoting another senior banker, the financial daily said MAS reportedly told banks that they should not single out any particular markets when reporting the sources of their inflows.

In its statement responding to the FT report, PBIG said: “At its most recent meeting on 20 February 2023, 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.”

It said that the meeting agreed on the importance of maintaining robust risk management controls to safeguard against money laundering and terrorism financing risks, in the face of increased fund flows into Singapore.

Attendees “also discussed how to facilitate the deployment of wealth to purposeful causes, given the growing interest among family offices in philanthropy and other activities that will benefit Singapore and the region”, PBIG added.

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

Image by: Pixabay

 

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