Seeking Trust, Integrity After 1MDB

Singapore’s Wealth Management Institute and UBS, have launched a new initiative designed to improve how the industry combats criminal money. The move comes as the city-state battles its biggest money-laundering scandal yet.

The Wealth Management Institute (WMI) and UBS have announced an agreement to launch a new initiative, the WMI Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Risk Management Program.

The program, which is sponsored by UBS, aims to deepen AML competencies in the wealth management industry to combat financial crime and reinforce Singapore’s status as a financial centre which adheres to the highest standard.

UBS, the largest private bank in the world, was among banks fined last year over its involvement in the billion-dollar graft scandal surrounding Malaysian state fund 1MDB.

Trusted International Financial Centre

Under this program, the WMI will create technology-enhanced learning modules on anti-money-laundering, or AML, and Countering of Terrorism Financing (CFT) topics. It is to be accredited by the Institute of Banking & Finance (IBF) under its standards.

The training will take into account the specific AML/CFT issues faced by the private banking industry as well as Singapore’s role as an international financial centre that operates in Asia.

Aside from training, the program will commission research papers relevant to tackling AML/CFT risks faced by wealth managers, as well as develop case studies.

Banks Closed Down

The program is supported by The Association of Banks in Singapore and IBF, and is also aligned to the expectations of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for the financial industry to deepen competencies in AML risk management.

«We must develop the necessary defence systems and ever more sophisticated tools to detect money laundering activities, and uphold Singapore’s reputation as the world’s undisputed clean and trusted international financial centre,» said Foo Mee Har, CEO of WMI.

In 2016 Falcon Bank and BSI were forced to close down and several other banks were heavily fined by the Singaporean regulator for AML breaches and control lapses relating to the Malaysian wealth fund 1MDB.

UBS’ sponsorship of the program runs for three years.

Source: FNA