29 November 2018
On 12 November 2018, the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (“ACRA”) released the updated “Anti-money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism Guidelines for Registered Filing Agents” (“Guidelines”).
The Guidelines were first issued by ACRA on 8 June 2015 to help registered filing agents (“RFAs”) fulfil their obligations under the enhanced regulatory regime for corporate service providers, which was introduced in May 2015. A person who or which, in the course of his or its business, carries out on behalf of any other person (for example, a customer) any transaction with ACRA using the electronic transaction system is required to be registered as a filing agent under the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority Act (“ACRA Act”). An RFA is required to comply with the legal obligations set out in the ACRA Act and the ACRA (Filing Agents and Qualified Individuals) Regulations 2015 and these include the requirements for the prevention of money laundering and terrorism financing.
RFAs are required to exercise due diligence and conduct their business in such a manner as to guard against the facilitation of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation. The recently updated Guidelines aim to better guide RFAs in complying with their obligations in this regard.
The key updates to the Guidelines include:
- Inclusion of information on the new mandatory training programme which comprises a prescribed Anti-Money Laundering/Counter Financing of Terrorism (“AML/CFT”) course and an AML/CFT Proficiency Test which apply to a RFA with effect from 15 November 2018;
- Update on how RFAs can file suspicious transaction reports electronically via STRO Online Notices and Reporting Platform (SONAR);
- Update on ACRA’s expectation on when RFAs should request for notarised copies of identification documents from customers and beneficial owners to mitigate situations of higher risks such as where the customers are not residing in Singapore and/or are not able to produce original documents for verifications;
- Update of the Customer Acceptance Form set out in the Guidelines to improve consistency with the requirements of “Ethics Pronouncement 200 - ‘Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism - Requirements and Guidelines for Professional Accountants in Singapore’” issued by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA) and which are applicable to public accountants and accounting entities registered under the Accountants Act and regulated by ACRA. This is so that RFAs that are also Public Accountants may consider adopting the same form for use.