Some of us have waited more than fifteen years for this day. We didn't actually start the timer but given that structure breeds behavior it was only a matter of time when our erstwhile financial regulators also took on the responsibility to be promoters as well. Just as no man can serve two masters, he had to choose one: promotion was placed ahead of regulation. Like SGX, MAS is now harvesting the seeds they allowed to be sowed.
Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Ravi Menon gave this stern warning yesterday when he said Singapore’s reputation as a clean financial centre has taken a hit after three banks here were found to have lapses in anti-money laundering controls in relation to financial transactions involving Malaysia’s state fund 1MDB.
He said regulators had taken the unprecedented step of naming the three banks –DBS Bank and the Singapore branches of UBS and Standard Chartered Bank – last week and would continue to name and shame financial institutions found to have breached anti-money laundering rules.
I am watching how change is accelerating in the world of finance and there is nothing to suggest that we have anticipated or are prepared to not just deal with but ride the change. It is not just hopping onto Fintech. That is just copying from elsewhere. I long to see deep understanding that is setting the direction and driving the change here. Typically a minister or top official would have articulated it in an important speech but that is absent.