Expert view: the next MAS regulation hitting private banks

February 06, 2017 – Abraham Teo, Head of Regulatory Policy at AxiomSL, APAC

Even as U.S. president Donald Trump signs an executive order to review Dodd Frank regulations, Singapore’s private banks are going to have to grapple with revisions to the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s banking act — MAS 610.

AxiomSL | Abraham Teo - Head of APAC Reg PolicyThat’s the view of Abraham Teo, head of regulatory policy at AxiomSL APAC, a global provider of regulatory reporting and risk management solutions.

‘Australia and Singapore are going through big regulatory changes,’ Teo told Citywire Asia. ‘The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore are asking for a lot more information from private banks. While it’s not granular like account-level information, they do have reporting requirements to the Bank of International Settlements.

‘The data includes elements such as where trades are booked, what industries your clients are in, grouping of assets by countries etc. — a lot of which may not have been captured under previous reporting requirements.

‘It doesn’t include data that helps identify clients, but the data points to be released to MAS have increased by 3000%,’ he said.

In December 2014, MAS released a consultation paper proposing revisions to MAS 610, requiring banks to increase the submission of certain statistics and returns. The information will have to be reported on a quarterly, half-yearly or yearly basis.

When will it come into effect? ‘We’re all awaiting news of it. It’s something that all banks are dreading, but it has to be done,’ said Teo.

‘In Australia, we see a similar scenario. APRA released a paper saying that they are revamping the entire regulatory regime, which effectively doubles the amount of data points they’re asking for from private banks.’

Responding to regulations

AxiomSL set up its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore in 2010. Its platform has since been used by financial institutions in the region to comply with key regulatory changes such as FATCA, CRS, regional liquidity coverage ratio, intraday liquidity, shareholding disclosure and central bank reporting.

Its data agnostic platform enriches the data, provides validation checks and supports disclosures in multiple formats according to reporting requirements.

According to Teo, private banks are responding to the increased reporting requirements by turning to technology and in-house talent.

‘The banks are looking for different ways to automate and streamline processes,’ he said, adding that the accounting and client information that was manually entered into Excel sheets is now being automated. This, in turn, is also improving control over access rights.

‘Private banks are asking their accounting and tax specialists to analyse the data and highlight issues and gaps, instead of making them data crunch, which is what they have been doing all these years.’
Private banks are also becoming more vigilant with their reporting requirements.

‘You need to make sure that you are giving the regulator the right data so that you bring down queries from the regulators to almost zero,’ said Teo.

This article was originally published by CityWire Magazine.