Public Consultation on Proposed Amendments to the Trustees Act
12 Jan 2017 to 31 Jan 2017
The Ministry of Law (“MinLaw”) invites the public to provide feedback on proposed amendments to the Trustees Act (Cap. 337).
Singapore takes a tough stance on financial crime to maintain its reputation as a clean and trusted international financial centre, and has over the years invested substantial efforts to enhance its anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing regime. The proposed amendments to the Trustees Act further underline Singapore’s commitment as a responsible member of the international community to global efforts in countering money laundering, terrorism financing and tax evasion. They form part of Singapore’s whole-of-government ongoing review to ensure that corporate vehicles and trusts are not misused for improper purposes.
In this regard, as a member of the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) and Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (“GF”), Singapore takes reference from international standards set by these bodies, in particular the International Standards on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation – The FATF Recommendations (“FATF recommendations”) and 2016 Terms of Reference to Monitor and Review Progress Towards Transparency and Exchange of Information on Requests for Tax Purposes (“GF requirements”).
II. SUMMARY OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS
- It is proposed that the Trustees Act be amended to empower the Minister for Law to enact such rules as may be necessary or desirable for the purposes of giving effect to the FATF recommendations and GF requirements. Specifically, the objective of the amendments is to enhance the transparency of the ownership and control structures of trusts, and prescribe minimum standards for financial record keeping by trustees. The proposed new provisions to the Trustees Act seek to:
- empower the Minister to make rules concerning the following:
- Prescribe duties on trustees, to obtain, hold and keep updated information on the identity of all relevant parties
to a trust (namely, the settlor, trustee, protector, beneficiary, or any other persons with power over the disposition
of the trust property), and of the agents of and service providers to the trust (see proposed section 84A(2)(a)-(b),
read with proposed section 83));
- Prescribe duties on trustees to obtain, hold and keep updated accounting records relating to the trust (see proposed
section 84A(2)(c), read with proposed section 83));
- Prescribe measures which a trustee must take to discharge the duties in (i) and (ii) above (see proposed section
- Prescribe duties on trustees to disclose their status to business and service providers when transacting in their
capacity as a trustee in any prescribed transaction (see proposed section 84A(2)(e));
**III. PUBLIC CONSULTATION DETAILS**
5. The Ministry of Law invites interested parties to:
- empower the Minister to prescribe the specific groups of trusts which are exempted from the proposed amendments;
- empower the Minister to designate any breach of such rules as an offence; and
- impose a penalty of a fine not exceeding $1,000 for any breaches of the obligations.
6. The consultation period is from 12 January 2017 to 31 January 2017. All views and feedback may be sent in electronic form or hard copy form to the address below:
- provide their views and feedback on the Trustees (Amendment) Bill (see Annex A); and
- in particular, to provide their views and feedback as to whether any classes of trusts should be exempted from the
operation of the proposed amendments.
Ministry of Law
International Legal Division
100 High Street,
#08-02, The Treasury
Fax: 6332 8842
Email: MLAW_Consultation@mlaw.gov.sg (preferred mode)
Last updated on 12 Jan 2017