31 March 2020

On 23 March 2020, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (“MAS”) issued an advisory to all financial institutions (“FIs”) in Singapore on the implementation of safe distancing measures in all aspects of their business operations, especially customer touch points. The advisory is part of the national effort to reduce the risk of further local transmission of Covid-19.

FIs were asked to strengthen their measures to meet the advisory’s requirements, as well as the relevant guidance issued by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Manpower and Enterprise Singapore. MAS said in its media release about the advisory that this will help to safeguard the health of customers and ensure the financial sector’s continued operational resilience during the Covid-19 outbreak. In particular, FIs were asked to:

  • reduce traffic at customer facing locations;
  • cancel or defer all physical events; and
  • adopt safe distancing measures at workplaces.

Reduce traffic at customer facing locations

To reduce traffic at customer facing locations (e.g. bank branches and customer service centres), FIs should actively encourage all customers to use electronic platforms for financial transactions (e.g. internet or mobile banking such as PayNow and PayNow Corporate and other e-payment services) where available.

Other key measures that FIs should adopt at customer facing locations include:

  • limiting the number of people waiting at the premises and ensuring a separation of at least one metre between customers;
  • prioritising service to vulnerable customers, such as the elderly or pregnant women, to reduce their time spent at these locations; and
  • collecting visitors’ details for contact tracing purposes.

Cancel or defer all physical events

FIs should cancel or defer all non-critical events such as marketing and promotional roadshows, as well as investment and education seminars.

Adopt safe distancing measures at workplaces

To safeguard the health of employees and ensure business continuity, FIs should adopt safe distancing measures at workplaces. These include:

  • arrangements to allow employees to work from home or at another location, where possible;
  • wider physical spacing of at least one metre between staff at workstations, meeting rooms or other common areas; and
  • staggering of start times for work and lunch hours to avoid congestion at building entrances and lift lobbies.

MAS states that it will continue to work closely with the industry to ensure that Singapore’s financial sector remains resilient and contributes to the national effort against Covid-19.

Reference materials

The media release is available on the MAS website ww.mas.gov.sg or by clicking here.

Further information

Allen & Gledhill has a Covid-19 Resource Centre on our website www.allenandgledhill.com that contains knowhow and materials on legal and regulatory aspects of the Covid-19 crisis.

In addition, we have a cross-disciplinary Covid-19 Legal Task Force consisting of Partners across various practice areas to provide rapid assistance. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at covid19taskforce@allenandgledhill.com.


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