A consortium of Singaporean agencies, including the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Finance and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), have announced a new strategic approach to “prevent, detect, investigate, and enforce” against terrorism financing (TF).
The development of the National Strategy for Countering the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) follows a 2020 investigation into the risks associated with TF which found payment service providers offering cross-border money transfer services were more susceptible to the risks posed by both regional and international terrorist groups and individuals.
The assessment said this was due to the “relative ease and speed with which their services may be used, coupled with Singapore being a financial and transport hub, and our proximity to countries exposed to terrorism activities”.
The National CFT Strategy also aims to improve the coordination and collaboration between law enforcement agencies, policymakers, regulatory bodies, supervisory agencies and the private sector.
The joint announcement made by the government agencies also highlighted the five points of the strategy, including:
- Coordinated and Comprehensive Risk Identification
- Adopt a whole-of-Government approach. Agencies should coordinate tightly, through for example, already well-established cooperation committees and networks.
- Review our TF landscape regularly, taking into account current and emerging typologies, international standards and requirements, and inputs from the private sector and academia.
- Strong Legal and Sanctions Frameworks
- Ensure a comprehensive legal framework to enable law enforcement authorities to take swift and effective action against terrorists, terrorist organisations and their supporters, including financiers of terrorism, through.
- Ensure that our financial sanctions framework remains in line with international standards and conventions, and supported by a clear policy framework to identify and designate terrorists.
- Robust Regulatory Regime and Risk Targeted Supervisory Framework
- Ensure that our anti-money laundering/CFT regulatory framework remains robust, and our risk focused supervisory framework is effective and aligned with international standards and best practices.
- Further strengthen the private sector’s awareness of TF risks and CFT controls through targeted outreach, industry guidance and risk-focused supervision by sector supervisors such as MAS and MinLaw.
- Enhance surveillance and supervisory measures through the use of data analytics and technological tools to draw insights from data sources, as well as to detect and target higher risk activities and entities that may be involved in or exposed to TF activities.
- Decisive Law Enforcement Actions
- Strengthen inter-agency collaboration to ensure all instances of TF are promptly detected and investigated.
- Expand collaboration with private sector to better detect and disrupt TF activities.
- Ensure that investigative efforts translate into successful prosecutions through an effective legal operational framework.
- International Partnerships and Cooperation
- Continue to rigorously implement and contribute to the development of international standards on combatting money laundering/TF/Proliferation Financing set by the Financial Action Task Force and relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions, via Singapore’s participation in the relevant platforms.
- Increase efforts to provide and seek legal assistance from other jurisdictions, as well as leverage informal channels of cooperation, to proactively tackle TF flows.