In this regular update, we round-up FinTech-related regulatory developments for the week ending 9 April 2021.



Covid-19: IAIS & FSI reports on redefining insurance supervision for the new normal

The Secretariat of the International Association of Insurance Supervisors (IAIS) and the Financial Stability Institute (FSI) of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) have jointly published reports on redefining insurance supervision. The IAIS report and FSI report both cover how insurance supervisors transitioned to remote working and how this has led to an acceleration of digitalisation developments in their supervisory processes and activities. It also considers the increased risk of cyber attacks and the need for closer scrutiny of business continuity plans, operational resilience and cyber security controls. [9 Apr 2021]





BIS: FSI insight on supervising cryptoassets for AML

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has published a Financial Stability Institute (FSI) insight (and accompanying executive summary) on supervising cryptoassets for anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) purposes.

The insight considers:

  • the regulatory framework, including the classification of cryptoassets, the definition of cryptoasset service providers, and the AML/CFT regulation of cryptoasset service providers;
  • supervisory practices;
  • enforcement actions; and
  • cooperation and information sharing. [8 Apr 2021]



GFXC: Request for feedback on amendments to the FX Global Code

The Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC) has published a request for feedback on amendments to the FX Global Code (the Code), and on the introduction of related cover sheets and templates.

The GFXC’s request for feedback covers proposals for updating the Code’s guidance in the following areas:

Feedback is requested back 7 May 2021. [8 Apr 2021]



G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting

The G20 has issued a Communiqué following the second G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting.

The Communiqué touches upon the economic recovery following Covid-19 and support for vulnerable countries, as well as the work of the Financial Stability Board (FSB) on too-big-to-fail (TBTF) reforms and on global stablecoins/central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

The members also published a progress report on the previous G20 Action Plan and an updated G20 Action Plan. The update includes a set of commitments to support the global economy following Covid-19 and to enhance resilience against future crises. It also notes the importance of addressing other global challenges, in particular climate change and promoting environmental protection. [8 Apr 2021]





BoE: Quarterly Bulletin for Q1

The Bank of England (BoE) has published its Quarterly Bulletin for Q1, which includes an article on delivering data standards and transforming data collection in financial services. The article reflects on the BoE’s Transformation Plan for data collection and considers the development and adoption of common data standards to support the Plan. [9 Apr 2021]



HoC: Research briefing on CBDCs

The House of Commons (HoC) Library has published a research briefing on CBDCs. The briefing sets out how a CBDC might work in practice and highlights some of its potential benefits and challenges. It also considers plans to develop CBDCs in the UK and other countries. [9 Apr 2021]

FCA: Quarterly data on financial promotions

The FCA has published its quarterly data on financial promotions. The data shows the number of financial promotions that have been amended or withdrawn by authorised firms due to non-compliance with FCA rules. The publication of the data is part of the FCA’s move towards greater transparency over non-compliant financial promotions outcomes. Of the financial promotions which the FCA required to be amended or withdrawn, 75% related to social media or website promotions. [6 Apr 2021]




MAS: Response to Parliamentary Questions on crypto assets

MAS has published the reply to Parliamentary Questions on the crypto asset market in Singapore. In his response, the Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:

  • identified two common types of crypto assets – cryptocurrencies and digital securities tokens;
  • assessed the size of the cryptocurrency market in Singapore as small compared to shares and bonds, and similarly the size of the securities token market as small;
  • provided an overview of the applicable regulation; and
  • highlighted MAS’ activity to monitor the sector and to keep investors and consumers informed. [5 Apr 2021]


MAS publishes FAQs on the PS Act

MAS has published responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the Payment Services Act 2019 (PS Act). The FAQ document is arranged in eight parts and a glossary:

  • Part 1: Rationale for Introduction of a New Payment Services Regulatory Framework and Timeline;
  • Part 2: Designation Framework;
  • Part 3: Licensing Framework and Licensable Activities;
  • Part 4: Regulatory Risk (1) – Anti-Money Laundering/Countering Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT);
  • Part 5: Regulatory Risk (2) – User Protection;
  • Part 6: Regulatory Risk (3) – Fragmentation and Interoperability;
  • Part 7: Regulatory Risk (4) – Technology and Cyber Risks; and
  • Part 8: Activity Restrictions.

An infographic on the PS Act accompanies the FAQs. [31 Mar 2021]




Covid-19: SECP notice on use of electronic signatures for the submission of AFS

The Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippines (SECP) has issued a notice regarding arrangements to facilitate the use of electronic signatures in the Audited Financial Statements (AFS) for the year ended 31 December 2020 and for the fiscal years ending in 2021.  [8 Apr 2021]





SEC Obtains Final Judgment Concluding Fraud Case Against Co-Founder of Real Estate Crowdfunding Portal

The US District Court for the Southern District of New York has entered a final judgment against former New York resident, a co-founder of a real estate crowdfunding portal. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) complaint alleged that the defendant misappropriated more than $1 million of investor funds for his personal use. The complaint also alleged that the defendant made materially false or misleading statements to investors orally and in private placement memoranda about the use of investor funds, the amount of funds that had been raised, and the number of real estate projects that his company had financed. On 8 July 2019, the SEC obtained a default judgment against the defendant after he failed to respond to the SEC’s complaint. The judgment permanently enjoined the defendant from violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. In its March 26, 2021 final judgment, the court ordered the defendant to pay disgorgement of $1,073,746.65, plus prejudgment interest of $ 184,655.27, and a civil penalty of $1,073,746.65. [7 Apr 2021]



Web Administrator Pleads Guilty to DOJ Money Laundering Conspiracy Charge

An Israeli national has pleaded guilty for his role in operating a website that connected internet users with Darknet marketplaces, where they purchased illegal firearms, malware and hacking tools, stolen financial data, heroin and fentanyl, and other contraband, which are not accessible through traditional search engines. For providing these links, the defendant, along with his co-conspirator, received kickback payments from the marketplaces in the form of virtual currency, including approximately 8,155 bitcoins (worth approximately $8.4 million based on the bitcoin trading value at the time of the transactions). To conceal the nature and source of these illegal kickback payments, the defendant transferred the payments from his bitcoin wallet to other bitcoin accounts and to bank accounts he controlled in the names of shell companies. The defendant has agreed to forfeit $8,414,173. [31 Mar 2021]





Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is licensed to operate as a foreign law practice in Singapore. Where advice on Singapore law is required, we will refer the matter to and work with licensed Singapore law practices where necessary.