Skip to content

AML/CTF Compliance in Singapore


Money laundering and terrorism financing laws in Singapore?

In Singapore, money laundering is a serious offence and is regulated primarily under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and Other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA) and the Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act (TSOFA). These laws aim to prevent and detect money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes by imposing obligations on certain entities, such as establishing a comprehensive framework for enterprise-wide ML/TF risk assessments, reporting, record-keeping, and customer identification.


Key obligations reporting entities have under Singaporean laws?

The key obligations under the CDSA and TSOFA include:

  • Customer due diligence (CDD) - these are measures to verify the identity of their customers and includes obtaining and verifying customer identification documents and assessing the risk associated with each customer.
  • Reporting of suspicious transactions - where entities are obligated to report any suspicious transactions or activities that may be related to money laundering or terrorist financing to the Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office (STRO) of the Commercial Affairs Department.
  • Transaction and cross-border reporting - where entities are required to report certain types of financial transactions, such as cash transactions over a specified threshold and cross-border movement of physical currency or bearer negotiable instruments.
  • Compliance programs - where entities must establish and maintain comprehensive AML/CFT compliance programs including enterprise-wide ML/TF risk assessments, internal policies and procedures, staff training, and ongoing monitoring to ensure compliance with the law.
  • Record-keeping - where entities must maintain adequate records of customer identification, transactions, and business relationships and retain them for periods specified within the regulations.


ML/TF regulators in Singapore and what functions do they perform?

In Singapore, the regulators responsible for combating money laundering and terrorism financing are primarily:

  • The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) - MAS is the central bank and financial regulator of Singapore and is the primary regulatory authority overseeing the implementation and enforcement of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulations in the financial sector.  MAS provides detailed guidelines and regulations to assist entities in meeting their obligations under the AML/CFT framework.
  • Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) - CAD is a division of the Singapore Police Force responsible for investigating and prosecuting money laundering and terrorism financing offences. It works closely with other regulatory bodies and agencies to combat financial crimes. In Singapore, authorities actively cooperate with international counterparts in combating money laundering and terrorism financing and involve sharing information, cooperating on investigations, and providing assistance to other jurisdictions when requested.


Industry sectors subject to ML/TF regulations?

In Singapore the main industry sectors that are regulated include:

Banks and Financial Institutions

Banks, credit card companies, money changers, remittance businesses, and other financial institutions fall under the jurisdiction of MAS and are required to implement robust AML/CTF measures.

Learn more

Capital Markets and Securities

Entities operating in the securities, futures, and derivatives markets, including stockbrokers, fund managers, and securities exchanges, are regulated by MAS and subject to AML/CTF regulations.

Learn more

Insurance companies and intermediaries

Such as insurance brokers and agents, are also regulated by MAS and subject to AML/CTF regulations.

Learn more

Money Service Businesses

Such as money changers, remittance agents, and stored value facility issuers are regulated under the Payment Services Act and must implement AML/CTF controls.

Learn more

Trust Companies

Trust companies that provide trust and fiduciary services, including corporate services providers,, are also regulated by MAS and subject to AML/CTF regulations.

Learn more


Integrated resorts and casino operators are regulated by the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA) and are subject to AML/CTF requirements to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing through gambling activities.

Learn more

Precious Stones and Metals Dealers

Businesses engaged in the trading of precious stones and metals are regulated by the Ministry of Law and are required to implement AML/CTF measures.

Learn more

Legal and Accounting Services

Professionals providing legal and accounting services are subject to AML/CTF regulations, including customer due diligence and suspicious transaction reporting obligations.

Learn more

Corporate Service Providers

Entities offering corporate secretarial services, nominee director services, and other similar services are regulated by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) and must comply with AML/CTF regulations.

Learn more


Largest fines for non-compliance?

In Singapore, the penalties for non-compliance with money laundering and terrorism financing laws can vary depending on the specific offence committed and the relevant provisions violated, below are some of the potential penalties that may apply:

  • Monetary penalties - The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and other regulatory authorities have the power to impose monetary penalties on financial institutions and individuals for non-compliance with AML/CTF requirements. These penalties can vary based on the specific offence and can be substantial.
  • Criminal offences - Serious breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorism financing (CTF) obligations can be considered criminal offences, leading to criminal charges and potential imprisonment. Criminal penalties can include fines, imprisonment terms, or both, depending on the severity of the offence.
  • Regulatory actions - Regulatory authorities, including the MAS and the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD), have the authority to take enforcement actions against non-compliant financial institutions, professional service providers, or individuals. These actions can include fines, revocation of licences, suspension of business activities, or restrictions on conducting certain types of transactions.


Largest fines for non-compliance with AML/CTF laws?

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has shown that it is willing to take action for non-compliance with AML/CFT laws and has used its enforcement powers including:

  • MAS penalises Vistra Trust SGD$1.1m for failures in Anti-Money Laundering Controls (20 January 2020)
  • Singapore authorities take actions against Noble Group Limited and former directors of Noble Resources International Pte Ltd (24 August 2022)
  • MAS imposes penalties on Standard Chartered Bank ad Standard Chartered Trust for AML/CTF Breaches (19 March 2018)
  • MAS Imposes Composition Penalty of SGD$1 million on Bank J. Safra Sarasin Ltd, Singapore Branch for AML/CFT Failures (14 April 2021)
  • MAS Imposes Composition Penalty of SGD$1.1m on Asiaciti Trust Singapore Pte Ltd for AML/CFT Failures (22 July 2020)
  • MAS revokes licence of Apical Asset Management Pte. Ltd for AML/CFT breaches, reprimands its CEO and Board (28 July 2020)
  • Financial Penalties Imposed on Credit Suisse and UOB for 1-MDB Related Transactions (30 May 2017)
  • AGC, CAD and MAS take action against Goldman Sachs (Singapore) Pte. on 1MDB bond offerings (23 October 2020)
  • MAS Directs Falcon Bank to Cease Operations in Singapore and imposes financial penalties on DBS Bank and UBS (11 October 2016)
  • MAS Directs Wirecard to Cease Payment Services in Singapore (30 September 2020)