On 24 August 2015, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (the “MAS”) published a consultation paper containing proposed legislative amendments to the Securities and Futures Act (the “SFA”) to introduce the following changes to the market misconduct provisions in the SFA to strengthen the effectiveness of the enforcement regime in deterring market misconduct:
- Clarify in the SFA that to establish an offence under section 199 of the SFA for the making or disseminating of false or misleading statement or information, it is the statement or information disseminated that must be false or misleading in a “material particular”, and not the “materiality” of the impact that the false or misleading disclosure has on the market.
- Introduce a new statutory definition of “persons who commonly invest” in securities for the purpose of determining what may be considered as inside information under the insider trading offence. In addition, the MAS proposes to issue a set of guidelines to elaborate on the level of knowledge and qualities that “persons who commonly invest” in securities should possess.
- Revise the ceiling for the MAS civil penalty quantum.
- Provide in the SFA that the MAS civil penalty claims will have priority over any subsequent claims for private debts incurred by a person who has contravened the market misconduct provisions.
- Revise section 324 of the SFA to empower the court to make an order prohibiting payment or transfer of moneys or securities in certain circumstances where investigations relating to market misconduct offences are carried out jointly by the MAS officers and the Commercial Affairs Department.
The consultation closed on 23 September 2015.
This development follows an earlier MAS consultation exercise in February 2015 which sought comments on these proposals in addition to other changes to the SFA. On 24 August 2015, the MAS issued its Response to the feedback received on the relevant proposals in the earlier MAS consultation paper.
The following materials are available from the MAS website www.mas.gov.sg: