Forex Traders in Singapore Need to be Aware of the Rules Regarding MAS Forex Brokers

MAS logoSingapore has gained a reputation for being the largest foreign exchange center in the Asia-Pacific region and for coming in third after London and New York on a global scale. No wonder then that so many Singapore residents are looking to Forex trading as a form of investment. Other benefits of Singapore include a booming economy and excellent business climate which add to the reasons for wanting to invest in such a popular market. Those of you reading this who are considering a foray into the world of Forex trading would be advised to keep reading. Because you’ll be able to learn about how it all works and thereby find yourself in a much better position with regards protecting your investment.

MAS is charged with regulating Forex brokers in Singapore

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is the agency responsible for regulating financial markets in Singapore, which include MAS regulated brokers. A broker who wants to set up a base of operations in Singapore is required to have a Capital Markets Service License, and these are issued by MAS. However, MAS has a number of other functions including acting as the country’s central bank. Other responsibilities include managing statutes in relation to insurance, banking, securities, money, currency issuance, along with the financial sector in general.

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MAS has also been responsible for developing an online financial network, known as MASNET, which has grown into a communication hub which can be used for submitting MAS returns, and for organizations such as banks and financial institutions to exchange data. It also facilitates the direct crediting of share dividends to shareholders banks accounts, workflow applications, and the providing of information services such as the Directory of Financial Institutions.

It is advisable to choose MAS regulated brokers for the best possible safety

Forex trading is a risky enough form of investment without adding to your troubles by choosing an unregulated broker. A MAS Forex broker will have your best interests at heart and have the rules in place to safeguard your interests in the best way possible. One way is by imposing the requirement for segregated accounts in which to keep client funds separate from those of the business. For you, this will mean that if a broker goes bust you will still be able to withdraw your money.

Financial service providers in Singapore are required to be licensed, exempt or regulated in some other way by MAS. The best piece of advice on offer is to only choose a MAS regulated broker with which to do business. You might be wondering why such advice? Quite simply it’s because MAS has developed a set of rules and regulations which are designed to safeguard consumers interests. It is also a requirement for MAS Forex brokers to have competent and professional people in their employ. And a requirement that they disclose information relating to investment products recommended to customers.

If you decide to use an unregulated Forex broker you will not benefit from the same level of protection as a MAS regulated brokers clients, particularly if the provider has its base overseas.

MAS chairs a financial educational program called MoneySENSE

MoneySENSE was launched in 2003 with the aim to help consumers become more financially self-reliant. A Financial Education Steering Committee heads the program and it is chaired by MAS, which shows that MAS is a consumer orientated organization. As well as its regulatory capacity, which involves upholding consumer rights and protecting investments, it is concerned with educating the public and providing them with the information to make more informed financial decisions and take better care of their finances.

How does MoneySENSE help you as a Forex trader in Singapore?

It issues regular consumer alerts which include highlighting some of the risks involved in choosing an unregulated financial services provider. One risk that is worthy of mention is the providing of false or misleading regulatory information. It has become a common occurrence for unregulated Forex brokers based all over the world to claim they have a license from a recognized regulatory body, in order to add to the broker’s legitimacy. Sometimes the unregulated broker will use a name which is very similar to a MAS regulated broker. Which is a very valid reason for checking any regulatory information a broker provides. MoneySENSE also provides advice on ways to further protect yourself and to avoid being scammed.

MAS Forex brokers are obliged to deal with customer complaints

Another requirement for MAS regulated brokers is to deal with customer complaints in a prompt and effective way. Should you find yourself needing to make a complaint about a provider it should always be addressed to them in the first instance. Preferably in writing, so there is a record of any communication. If you are unable to reach a satisfactory resolution you have the option of contacting the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre (FIDReC), providing it is done within 6 months of your last communication with the service provider. Other options include approaching the Consumers Association of Singapore, the Singapore Mediation Centre or taking your case to court.

MAS is looking to limit margin requirements in the future

Along with many other regulators across the globe, MAS is looking to set collateral requirements for non-cleared over the counter derivatives. A number of other regulatory bodies have already taken such a step. For example, in the US leverage is limited to 20:1 for Forex transaction involving the Swiss franc, and 33:1 for transactions involving the Swedish or Norwegian krone. In Singapore, the subject of limited leverage is still under discussion, with a decision due sometime towards the end of the year. Therefore, it is something you need to be aware of if you are planning to trade foreign currency pairs in Singapore.

Is MAS a competent regulator? It certainly seems to have consumer interest at its heart and has shown to be aware of international opinion with regards to regulation. While there are far more reputable regulators out there you should be aware there are also some with a far less favorable reputation than MAS.