MAS keeping close watch on key risk areas in crypto world without stifling innovation

MAS keeping close watch on key risk areas in crypto world without stifling innovation

By: 
PC Lee
15/03/18, 09:16 pm

SINGAPORE (Mar 15): How do you harness the transformative benefits of blockchain technology and crypto tokens while containing some of their risks?

That is the main challenge facing regulators and central banks when it comes to crypto currencies, says Ravi Menon, Managing Director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Menon was speaking at the Money20/20 Asia Conference at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre on Thursday.

Although MAS has so far chosen not to regulate crypto tokens directly, it is focusing on the activities associated with crypto tokens, says Menon.

These include evaluating the different kinds of risks these activities pose and considering the appropriate regulatory responses but all the while, seeking to ensure it does not stifle innovation.

According to Menon, the three key crypto currency risk areas are: Financial stability, money laundering, investor protection and market functioning.

He says central banks and regulators are studying the nexus between the crypto world and the financial system to assess how risks to financial stability may be transmitted.

Although MAS assesses that the nature and scale of crypto token activities in Singapore do not currently pose a significant risk to financial stability, Menon says "this situation could change, and so we are closely watching this space".

Given the gaps in traditional information sources, MAS is exploring some unconventional ways in which to gather data about the scale and scope of crypto token related activities.

As for the "clear and present danger" of money laundering and terrorism financing posed by some crypto token activity, Menon says intermediaries dealing in crypto tokens are already required to report any suspicious transactions to the Commercial Affairs Department.

In addition, the proposed Payment Services Bill will require intermediaries that buy, sell or exchange virtual currencies to specifically address money laundering and terrorism financing risks.

Intermediaries will also be required to carry out customer due diligence and put in place controls and processes that are commensurate with their risks.

As for safeguarding the interests of investors, the priority of MAS has been to make them aware of the risks of putting their money in crypto tokens.

"We have advised the public to act with extreme caution should they wish to invest in crypto tokens," says Menon, "They could lose their shirts if prices plunge... And they have no regulatory protection if there is fraud."

MAS is also tackling the issue of market integrity and functioning. Several cryptocurrency exchanges abroad have suffered cyber attacks and theft of their crypto tokens.

There are also rumours and reports of rampant market manipulation and other fraudulent activities on crypto-exchanges.

"We are watching with interest developments in the US, where futures contracts based on crypto tokens have been introduced on regulated exchanges. There may be some advantages here from a market integrity perspective," says Menon.

Ex-Maybank Kim Eng dealer admits Soh gave orders on trades in 3 accounts

SINGAPORE (May 22): Prosecution witness Ong Kah Chye revealed trades in three accounts under him were solely executed on the instructions of John Soh Chee Wen. The former Maybank Kim Eng Securities dealer admitted he had received instructions from Soh for accounts belonging to three clients – Peter Chen Hing Woon, Tan Boon Kiat (also known as Gary Tan) and Magus Energy Group. However, Ong was not sure if Soh had given instructions for a fourth account – Friendship Bridge Holding — as the “account was really not active at all”. The directors of Magnus Energy, namely, Lim Kuan Ye....
Read More >>

Stamford Land's 4Q earnings fall 80% to $5 mil on lower revenue

SINGAPORE (May 22): Stamford Land Corporation reported an 80.4% y-o-y decline in 4Q19 earnings to $5 million compared to $25.6 million previously due to lower revenue. The latest quarterly result brings Stamford’s FY19 earnings to $47.8 million, down 15.4% from $56.4 million a year ago. Revenue for the latest quarter fell 74.8% to $47.9 million from $189.7 million 4Q18 on the back of lower contributions across all segments. The overall decline in 4Q topline was mainly due to a steep drop in revenue and operating profit for the Property Development segment in the absence of settled u....
Read More >>

Neo Group FY19 earnings nearly double to $5.4 mil after strong 4Q

SINGAPORE (May 22): Neo Group Limited has announced earnings of $3.9 million for the 4Q ended March, rising 42.8% from $2.7 million a year ago mainly due to higher revenue.    This brings the group’s FY19 earnings to $5.4 million, up 48.7% y-o-y from $3.6 million previously on higher revenue and lower full-year purchases and consumables used. Revenue for 4Q rose 7% to $50.9 million from $47.6 million previously, driven mainly by higher contributions from the group’s flagship Food Catering business due to stronger recurring income from the childcare and elderly market segmen....
Read More >>