Two fines were imposed with S$5.2m against the Singapore branch of Standard Chartered Bank (SCBS) and S$1.2m against Standard Chartered Trust (Singapore) (SCTS).
According to Mas: “These breaches occurred when trust accounts of SCBS’s customers were transferred from Standard Chartered Trust (Guernsey) to SCTS from December 2015 to January 2016.”
The risk management and controls in relation to the transfers were found to be “unsatisfactory”.
The trusts were transferred shortly before Guernsey implemented the Common Reporting Standard (CRS), which raised questions about whether the transfers were made to avoid having to make CRS disclosures.
Singapore is due to start automatically exchanging tax information in 2018.
Mas deputy managing director Ong Chong Tee said: “Mas requires financial institutions to adequately assess money laundering risks when deciding whether to accept customers. They should also have in place good systems and processes to monitor customer transactions.
“We expect financial institutions to remain vigilant by instilling a strong risk culture.”
In determining what action to take, the Singapore regulator took into account that SCBS had “pro-actively notified Mas of its internal review on the trust accounts”.
Additionally, it said that both StanChart entities have both shown “strong commitment to address the deficiencies identified by Mas”.