Singapore has a highly developed and successful free-market economy. It enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly in consumer electronics, information technology products, pharmaceuticals, and on a growing financial services sector. The economy contracted 0.8% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, but rebounded 14.8% in 2010, on the strength of renewed exports, before slowing to in 2011-13, largely a result of soft demand for exports during the second European recession. Over the longer term, the government hopes to establish a new growth path that focuses on raising productivity. Singapore has attracted major investments in pharmaceuticals and medical technology production and will continue efforts to establish Singapore as Southeast Asia’s financial and high-tech hub.
Singapore is the fourth-strongest financial market in the world. The World Economic Forum praised the country for its high degree of financial stability, bank efficiency, and commercial access to capital.
Singapore is the fourth-largest foreign currency trading center in the world, according to the Bank for International Settlements.
Singapore has the highest concentration of millionaire households, with 15.5% of all households having at least $1 million in assets under management.
Singapore could overtake Switzerland as the world’s largest offshore wealth hub by 2020, according to WealthInsight, a London-based research firm.
Singapore is a major financial centre in the Asia/Pacific region. In general, the domestic crime rate is low in Singapore which is largely attributable to the deterrent effect of stringent and effective law enforcement. However, as a developed, open and stable economy located in South East Asia, Singapore faces a range of regional and international money laundering and terrorist financing risks, including capital flight associated with corruption in other South East Asian countries, as well as the proceeds of crime from a range of other offences. The size and growth of Singapore’s private banking and assets management sector poses a significant money laundering (ML) risk based on known typologies. There are also terrorist financing risks. The authorities have taken action against Jemaah Islamiyah and its members and have identified and frozen terrorist assets held in Singapore. Following a security operation that commenced in December 2001, Singapore dismantled the local Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist network and confirmed that the network is no longer carrying out its activities in Singapore and that the amount of terrorist funds held in Singapore was small. Singapore continues to actively monitor for potential terrorism-related activities that may occur in Singapore.
The Financial Sector in Singapore is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) which promotes sustained, non-inflationary economic growth through appropriate monetary policy formulation and close macroeconomic surveillance of emerging trends and potential vulnerabilities. It manages Singapore’s exchange rate, foreign reserves and liquidity in the banking sector. MAS is also an integrated supervisor overseeing all financial institutions in Singapore — banks, insurers, capital market intermediaries, financial advisors, and the stock exchange.
Singapore has criminalized ML in eight separate provisions of the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and other Serious Crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Act (CDSA). Singapore’s money laundering offences cover the conversion or transfer, concealment or disguise, possession and acquisition of property in a manner that is largely consistent with the 1988 United Nations (UN) Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Vienna Convention) and the 2000 UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention).
Singapore has criminalised four main terrorist financing offences in its Terrorism (Suppression of Financing) Act (TSOFA). These provisions cover the collection or provision of funds with the intention that they be used by a terrorist or terrorist organisation, or to carry out a terrorist act.
STRO is Singapore’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU). It is the central agency in Singapore for receiving, analysing and disseminating reports of suspicious transactions, known as Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs).
This group investigates money laundering, terrorism financing and fraud involving employees of financial institutions. It also looks into international cooperation involving other law enforcement agencies.
Financial Investigation Division of the CAD
The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) is the principal white-collar crime investigation agency in Singapore.