The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) would receive expanded powers under a bill before the country’s parliament. If passed, the changes could significantly impact crypto firms.
Among other things, the provisions of the Financial Institutions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2024 would “expand MAS’ powers to issue directions to capital markets services licence holders (‘CMSL holders’) that conduct unregulated business.”
CMSL holders can offer unregulated products that could pose contagion risks to their regulated activities, the bill states. It cites Bitcoin (BTC) futures and “other payment token derivatives traded on overseas exchanges” as an example. The MAS has already issued guidance on risk-mitigating measures for conducting unregulated business with retail investors, but its powers are being expanded:
“The FIMA Bill will now allow MAS to issue written directions on the minimum standards and safeguards that should be in place when CMSL holders and their representatives conduct unregulated businesses.”
Cryptocurrency exchanges may be CMSL holders, as well as Major Payment Institution (MPI) licensees.
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The MAS instituted a range of measures to discourage speculation in cryptocurrency investments in November. It also revised its regulatory framework for stablecoins in August, after which Circle and Ripple received MPI licenses, bringing the total number of license holders to over a dozen. Paxos was approved to issue a U.S. dollar stablecoin in November, while the MAS is also actively exploring tokenization under Project Guardian.
— Sygnum Bank (@sygnumofficial) January 11, 2024
Other provisions of the bill would allow the MAS to compel individuals to appear for interviews and make written statements. It would allow the MAS to enter premises without a warrant and obtain court orders to seize evidence. It will also enable the it to approve agents appointed by foreign regulators to inspect Singaporean financial institutions.
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