MAS revokes licence of Singapore asset manager

Gary Robinson

29 July 2020

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has revoked the Capital Markets Services (CMS) licence of Singapore-based financial firm Apical Asset Management for serious breaches of MAS’ Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) requirements.

MAS has also reprimanded Apical’s CEO and director Yeh Yin Yee and director Bernard Kan Cheok Yin for what’s it called a failure to discharge their duties and functions and failure to comply with all laws and rules governing its operations.

‘Severe’

MAS said that inspection of uncovered “severe deficiencies” in its Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Financing of Terrorism controls from 2013 to 2018, which exposed the company to the risk of receiving and/or laundering the proceeds of crime.

“This risk was heightened in view of the complex ownership structures, comprising multiple layers and investment entities, used by some of Apical’s customers,” MAS said.

“Apical did not properly assess its customers to determine whether they presented higher ML/TF risks and it’s ongoing monitoring controls and procedures were deficient, resulting in its failure to conduct enhanced monitoring of a fund related to a politically exposed person for a significant length of time.”

‘Failure’

MAS added that it has reprimanded CEO Yeh Yin Yee and director Bernard Kan Cheok Yin for failure to discharge their duties and functions to ensure compliance with all laws and regulations.

Loo Siew Yee, Assistant Managing Director (Policy, Payments and Financial Crime), MAS, said, “AAMPL’s lack of basic AML/CFT controls despite the heightened ML/TF risks posed by its clients’ use of complex investment structures was an unacceptable failing warranting licence revocation.

“MAS will not hesitate to take appropriate action against FIs whose policies and controls clearly fail to address the ML/TF risks in their business activities. Board and senior management who fall short in their duties will also be taken to task.”