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Monetary Authority Bill

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (Amendment) Bill 2007 was read a second time in Parliament on February 12 2007. The Bill seeks to enable the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to carry out its functions more effectively in meeting the challenges of a dynamic global financial and regulatory landscape.

The proposed amendments are aimed at improving three broad areas: firstly strengthening the accountability and governance of MAS; secondly, streamlining of operations of MAS; and thirdly, providing MAS with the flexibility to address emerging issues.

In relation to accountability and governance, the Bill proposes that the functions of MAS as that of a central bank, an integrated financial supervisor and a developer of the financial sector be expressly stated. The Bill also proposes the inclusion in the MAS's annual report a write-up on MAS's performance in its functions and duties. The Bill further proposes putting in place specific safeguards that will prevent MAS from financing government deficits.

In an attempt to streamline MAS's existing operations, the Bill proposes that MAS senior management, comprising its assistant and deputy managing directors, in addition to MAS board of directors, be appointed as acting managing director(s) by the minister-in-charge of MAS. Upon such an appointment, the newly appointed acting managing director(s) would then be in a position to assist the managing director in the discharge of the latter's official duties. The Bill further proposes the empowerment of MAS board over the approval of new securities and investments that MAS may purchase or sell using MAS' funds.

The Bill also seeks to revise the scope of MAS' powers to empower MAS in the issuance of regulations or directions to deal with money-laundering and terrorism financing. To provide consumers with recourse to an independent and efficient dispute resolution mechanism, the Bill proposes that MAS be empowered to approve schemes for the resolution of disputes arising from the provision of financial services in Singapore.

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