MAS Issues Robo-Adviser Guidelines

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has issued new guidelines for firms offering digital advisory services. Digital advisers - also referred to as 'robo-advisers' - provide advice on investment products by giving clients direct access to algorithmically-driven automated tools with limited or no interaction with human advisers.

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MAS Proposes Changes to the Recognised Market Operators Regime

On 22 May 2018, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) began a consultation to seek public feedback on its proposed changes to the Recognised Market Operators (RMOs) regime. The proposed changes are intended to advance MAS's objective to drive innovation in financial services, whilst protecting investors' interests.

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Singapore Issues Trade-Based AML/CFT Best Practice Papers

On 14 May 2018, the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Industry Partnership of Singapore issued two papers, namely Best Practices for Countering Trade Based Money Laundering (the TBML Paper) and Legal Persons - Misuse Typologies and Best Practices (the Legal Persons Paper). The papers set out best practices for financial institutions to combat trade-based money laundering and the misuse of legal entities for illegal activities. The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Industry Partnership of Singapore was formed in April 2017 by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) of the Singapore Police Force as a government-industry partnership to strengthen Singapore's resilience against financial crime.

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Thailand Regulates Initial Coin Offerings and Digital Asset Businesses

The Royal Decree on the Digital Asset Businesses B.E. 2561 (2018) (Royal Decree), which came into force on 14 May 2018, regulates the offering of digital tokens to the public and digital asset business operators. The Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand (SEC) has also drafted regulations to be issued under the Royal Decree. The regulations are expected to be issued in June 2018. The Royal Decree will not apply to investments in digital assets overseas.

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Australia Extends its AML/CTF Act to Cover Digital Currency Exchange Providers

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment Act 2017 of Australia came into force on 3 April 2018. That Act brings digital currency exchange (DCE) providers with operations in Australia under the purview of the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), Australia's financial intelligence unit and anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulator. One of the purposes is to minimise the risk of criminals exploiting DCEs to facilitate money laundering, terrorism financing and cybercrimes. DCE providers are businesses that provide services to convert fiat currency into digital currency and vice versa.

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