This means that IFS is no longer permitted to provide financial advisory services in the city state.
It follows IFS informing the MAS, in September 2018, that it would “cease the provision” of financial advisory services.
In addition to Singapore, IFS has an operation in Qatar.
According to country’s Financial Centre Regulatory Authority, the firm remains authorised to “carry on insurance mediation with or for retail customers” from the Qatar Financial Centre.
A separate business based in Hong Kong, also called IFS, is not connected with either the Singapore or Qatar-based companies.
The withdrawal of IFS’ Singapore licence comes after a protracted legal case between the firm and Old Mutual International and its local advice firm AAM Advisory.
OMI loaned money to IFS, which was not repaid. IFS protested that a breach of confidence, in which its staff were made privy to the loan, meant that the terms of the agreement were nullified, and it did not have to repay the money.
A judge disagreed in May 2018, awarding the costs of the appeal to OMI and AAM in addition to the outstanding sum.
Three months later, an email was sent to IFS clients informing them of a deal to sell its client book to Meyado Private Wealth Management Singapore.
Failure to comply
After the firm told the regulator of its intention to surrender its licence, IFS was required to ensure that its liabilities and obligations to all clients had been fully discharged or provided for prior to the termination of its FA licence.
To fulfil this condition, the MAS asked IFS to submit an auditor’s certification to the regulatory body, among other requirements, proving this.
The regulator said IFS failed to provide the certification.
It then wrote to IFS on 5 April 2019 asking the company to “provide the requisite auditor’s certification confirming that IFS has fully discharged or has sufficient means to discharge its liabilities and obligations to all clients prior to termination of its FA licence”.
IFS failed to comply, forcing the MAS to revoke its FA licence under section 19(2)(c)(ii) of the Financial Advisers Act.
The Singapore watchdog said in a statement: “MAS issues written directions to financial institutions in the public interest or for the protection of investors.
“MAS takes a serious view of financial institutions’ failure to comply with the conditions of their licence as well as written directions issued by MAS.
“MAS will not hesitate to take stern action including revocation of licences for any non-compliance with regulatory requirements.”