The Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) commenced a month-long public consultation exercise on 7 November 2013, on the draft ACRA (Amendment) Bill and key policies in the new ACRA (Service Providers) Regulations that will enhance the regulatory framework for corporate service providers (CSPs). The new regime will benefit the CSP industry by raising professional standards.
2 Additionally, the inaugural National Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment Report issued in January 2014 by the Steering Committee for Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing identified the CSP sector as having some risks. This is because the companies CSPs help to incorporate may be used to set up complex and opaque structures for illegal purposes. Enhancing the regulatory framework for CSPs is necessary to address the risks.
3 A robust regulatory framework against money laundering and terrorist financing will also further strengthen Singapore’s reputation as a trusted international financial and business centre.
4 Apart from the public consultation, ACRA also held dialogue sessions with professional bodies, including the Singapore Association of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries & Administrators (SAICSA), the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) and the Law Society of Singapore.
5 Overall, we received positive feedback that the enhanced regulatory regime would ensure that all CSPs abide by the same legal requirements in carrying out their business. Most of the feedback concerned the implementation of the new framework, with a number of respondents requesting for guidance on the qualifying criteria and the process for conducting customer due diligence, so as to comply with the new legal requirements. There were also suggestions that education programmes for applicants be mandated to keep the professional standards of CSPs high, and requests for more information on the transitional framework for existing CSPs.
6 MOF’s and ACRA’s responses to the feedback received can be found at Annex A
7 MOF and ACRA would like to thank members of the public and industry partners who had taken the time to provide their feedback. The new framework is expected to be implemented by end 2014.
MINISTRY OF FINANCE
ACCOUNTING AND CORPORATE REGULATORY AUTHORITY
10 February 2014
 The Steering Committee for Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing include representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.