Money Laundering challenges in Singapore
Singapore’s position as one of the world’s leading financial services centre and a trade hub make it particularly vulnerable to money laundering due to large cross-border flows, coupled with a regional history of transnational organized crime.
Its neighboring states are named in large scale corruption schemes. A range of other predicate offences in neighboring states increase the risk that Singapore will be viewed as an attractive destination for criminals to launder their criminal proceeds.
Traditionally, money launderers and tax evaders have used shell companies in offshore centres worldwide to introduce dirty money. But the relative ease of starting a business in Singapore renders it potentially more vulnerable to misuse of shell firms, which otherwise have many legitimate business purposes.
Singapore had discovered that funds linked to a scandal-ridden 1Malaysia Development Bhd had been laundered through its financial system. As a result, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) shut down the local units of two private banks. It froze millions of dollars in bank accounts, charged private bankers and imposed fines on banks.
To confront a growing number of threats and more savvy criminals, professionals in anti-money laundering roles need training that goes beyond the basics. There are many Compliance Certification courses across the world.
Some of them are global and some of them are local. There are several renowned certifications focusing on enriching AML or Compliance related topics. Most of these providers are based in United States and deal primarily with Bank Secrecy Act. There are couple of AML Certification courses designed for the compliance teams of financial institutions.
Singapore AML Certification courses
There are multiple short-term online AML Certification courses offered by Riskpro Learning
- Certification in Trade Based Money Laundering – Proceeds of crime are laundered through the international trade. This certification explains the different methods of trade and the informal value transfer systems.
- AML Certification for Money Service Businesses – This program is designed for the money changers, exchange houses, digital currency exchanges and money exchanges to identify the suspicious financial transactions.
- Shell Company Investigations – Money obtained from criminal activities is introduced in the shell companies to make it appear as the income from legitimate source. This short term AML program helps the students to understand the different types of corporate structures.
- Risk Based Money Laundering – This online learning course discuss different aspects of risk based kyc approach and identification of the high risk customers. Additionally, different methods of laundering huge amounts of money through the real estate sector are also discussed in this course.
Most of the AML Certifications help the professionals to get their resume up skilled by adding the certifications such as Certified Anti Money Laundering Experts (CAME). These certifications are important milestone in professional development. Certifications show that professionals are out of the crowd and are equipped with the required knowledge to work in the AML and Compliance domain.
Contents of AML Certification courses
AML Certifications help the professionals to distinguish themselves from the crowd and it also adds the knowledge and value to the professional who is studying the subject of Anti Money Laundering. Globally, there are many certifications which offer a good curriculum.
However, Money Laundering is a technical subject, which needs to be understood in the local parlance. There are different financial crime challenges faced by different countries, Drug Trafficking may be the most popular crime in Columbia but Human Trafficking may be the biggest challenge before Thailand.
Financial Terms used in every country may also differ. Financial Action Task force (FATF) require financial institutions to report the suspicious transactions to Financial Intelligence Unit. However, Singapore uses Suspicious Transaction Reporting Office instead of Financial Intelligence Unit. In such scenario the professional actually gain the insights when they study the local laws.
One of the most popular AML CFT Certifications in Asia is Certified Anti Money Laundering Expert Program, which is designed for the Asian bankers and compliance professionals. It covers the reporting requirements in Singapore banks.
This program emphasize on the local laws. Law enforcement agencies and the compliance professionals use the local terminologies.
AML Regulations in Singapore
There are different regulations in Singapore, which the compliance professionals working in Singapore needs to understand. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator. It sets out CFT and AML policy in Singapore. Singapore is developing as the hub of the Fintech as it has a matured banking system. Singapore’s AML/CFT regulations establish a clear requirement that FinTech’s have a transaction monitoring program in place.
Limited large currency reporting requirements and the size and growth of Singapore’s private banking and asset management sectors also pose inherent risks. This situation warrants the need of education to combat money laundering.
Cost of AML Certifications
Ambitious professionals always look forward to go global. However the cost of the global certifications play a major barrier in gaining Certification. Online AML Certifications mentioned above are helpful to the aspirants to get their compliance knowledge updated. The online certifications are also combined with the online assessments and with the certifications from the course providers.
One should do the cost benefit analysis before gaining certifications. KYC is not the only aspect of AML Regime. Many certifications are still focusing on the age old KYC approach. It is necessary to understand that KYC is a very small part of the Money Laundering Process. Now the Risk Based Approach replaces the traditional KYC methods. There are many other aspects involved in the process of AML Compliance. The cost of certifications vary when the practical case studies are discussed.
Certified Anti Money Laundering Expert syllabus covers KYC, Trade Based Money Laundering, Prevention of Money Laundering Act etc. This program is offered by Riskpro Learning and the payments are required to be made in Singapore Dollars. It costs SGD 600 for an individual to complete the certification.