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 centre 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 an 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 so find yourself in a much better position with regard to 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 Licence, and these are issued by MAS. However, MAS also 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 that can be used for submitting MAS returns, and for organisations 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 provision 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 possible way. 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 services 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 we give such advice. Well quite simply, it’s because MAS has developed a set of rules and regulations that 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 to 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 programme called MoneySENSE.

MoneySENSE was launched in 2003 with the aim of helping consumers become more financially self-reliant. A Financial Education Steering Committee heads the programme, and it is chaired by MAS, which shows that MAS is a consumer-orientated organisation. 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 to take better care of their finances.

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

MoneySENSE 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 provision 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 licence from a recognised regulatory body, in order to add to the broker’s legitimacy. Sometimes the unregulated broker will use a name that is very similar to that of 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 that 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 or 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 transactions 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. It is therefore 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 itself to be aware of international opinion with regard to regulation. While there are far more reputable regulators out there, you should be aware that there are also some with a far less favourable reputation than MAS.