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What Do You Need To Know About The New Bill For Singapore's Real Estate Sector?

According to the recent news release by The Straits Times, the Singapore Parliament has passed a new bill on 5th May 2020, which aims to tighten Anti-Money Laundering / Counter-terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) measures, implement harsher punitive measures and empowers the authority in order to deter fraudsters who attempt to make use of the real estate channel for their personal gains.

The new bill will raise the maximum fines of up to $200,000 and $100,000 per case for errant real estate agencies and property agents respectively, and further empowers the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA).

Under the enforcement of the new bill, Singapore’s real estate agencies and property agents are also required to conduct the following AML/CTF measures as recommended by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF):

  1. Conduct due diligence checks on their customers.

  2. Report suspicious transactions to the Suspicious Transactions Reporting (STR) office.

  3. Keep records of these due-diligence checks which may be inspected by the CEA.

On top of these measures, the new bill has also given CEA the authority to fine errant real estate agencies and property agents up to $5,000, without having to refer them to a disciplinary committee. CEA inspectors are also given enhanced investigative power such as requiring a person to provide statements and documents. Attempting to give false or misleading information or failure to comply with the requirements are also considered as offenses and offenders will be prosecuted accordingly.

With stricter AML/CTF measures in place, many real estate agencies and property agents may face upward pressure in their costs and resources to comply with the stricter AML/CTF regulations if their compliance procedures are manual, as the procedures are repetitive and prone to human error.

However, these challenges could be overcome with the use of Regulatory Technology (RegTech) where manual, repetitive and human error-prone procedures are automated and digitised through the adoption of heuristic approach enabled by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), as well as the right expertise and knowledge of the regulatory field.

As a global leading RegTech solutions provider, we understand the compliance pain points faced by the different regulated entities and we aim to provide the assistance they need to overcome all these challenges efficiently while they focus on their core business. We spend most of our time researching and developing our flagship products Artemis (E-KYC), Ares (Digital Onboarding) and Athena (Transaction Monitoring) in order to tailor to our clients’ business needs.

About Cynopsis Solutions

Cynopsis Solutions was established in Singapore in 2014 and offers Regulatory Technology (Reg Tech) solutions designed to automate KYC processes. It has operations in Singapore, UK, Taiwan and Vietnam. Cynopsis Solutions is a winner of MAS FinTech Awards 2018 and has been recognized as one of the REGTECH100 – an annual list of 100 of the world’s most innovative RegTech companies as determined by RegTech Analyst, a RegTech intelligence platform.

Our end-to-end solution is designed according to the global FATF recommendations, applicable in 180 jurisdictions and is already helping more than 1,600 clients in the Banking, Financial Services, Professional Services and Gaming sectors globally to achieve better regulatory outcomes, improve efficiency and reduce cost.

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