The Lion City’s role as an international transport hub and financial centre makes it vulnerable to money laundering and terrorism financing risks, which has prompted the authorities to look at ways to strengthen its regulations and enforcement, according to the country’s first national risk assessment report.
Singapore Business Review reports that a number of efforts are under way to improve the city state’s controls, particularly of the most vulnerable areas that are internationally oriented and cash intensive.
The report has identified a number of sectors where controls are relatively less robust. These include remittance agents, money-changers, internet-based stored value facility holders, corporate service providers and pawnbrokers. Relevant government agencies will be strengthening the legislative and supervisory framework through the year to address the risks in these sectors more effectively.
As technology evolves and criminals become more sophisticated, several areas have also been identified for further study. These include virtual currencies, precious stones and metals dealers, and the Singapore Freeport.
China Merchants Securities, owned by Hong Kong conglomerate, China Merchant Group, is planning to hire about 100 people this year in its bid to become one of Hong Kong’s top 10 investment banks in the city for equity and debt capital market business,
according to the South China Morning Post.
An Ernst & Young survey of private equity professionals reports that more than half named Greater China as the Asian market likely to see the most deal activity in 2014, according to Finance Asia.
Nomura will buy ING Groep NV’s Taiwanese investment unit, becoming the first Japanese asset manager to operate in the market. Businessweek reports that ING, the biggest Dutch financial-services company, is divesting insurance and investment businesses as it repays a government bailout.
Asian Investor reports that Nomura is planning a buildout of the Taiwanese operation the transaction.
Foreign companies operating in Thailand need to prepare for the worst, Rajiv Biswas, the Asia-Pacific chief economist for IHS has warned.
Businessweek quotes Biswas as saying that there is an increasing risk of “protracted violent civil unrest and another military coup,” he wrote, “Firms in all industry sectors should have clear plans in place for locking down their facilities, supporting their personnel and having well-established procedures for backup sites in other countries to maintain continuity of critical business operations and managing potential risks of supply chain disruptions.”coup
Singapore’s Business Times says that China will strengthen its supervision over initial public offerings.
The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), which had promised a more hands-off approach to IPOs after resuming them earlier this month following a 15-month hiatus, said it will step up monitoring of the deals and their pricing.