Wondering About Forex Trading in Singapore? Read our Guide to MAS Forex Brokers
According to a recent survey by the Triennial Central Bank, Singapore is the largest foreign exchange center in the Asia-Pacific region. Globally, it is third after London and New York. Singapore has a booming economy and superb business climate so it comes as no surprise to learn that Singapore has become a popular location for those wanting to invest in the Forex market. If you’re considering Forex trading as a suitable form of investment it would be wise to learn how the process works, and who has been tasked with regulating the market.
Who is MAS?
MAS stands for the Monetary Authority of Singapore and is the body responsible for regulating Forex brokers in Singapore. Any broker wishing to operate in Singapore must have a Capital Markets Service License, issued by MAS. MAS is the central bank of Singapore and also the financial regulatory authority. It manages the various statutes relating to money, insurance, banking, securities, currency issuance, as well as the financial sector in general. Before 1970, monetary functions were largely the concern of government departments and agencies. In 1970, the Monetary Authority of Singapore Act was passed by the Parliament of Singapore and MAS was created. MAS was given authority by the Act to regulate monetary policy, finance, and banking in Singapore. In 1977, it was decided to bring the regulation of the insurance industry under the regulation of MAS. And in 1984 regulatory functions under the Securities Industry Act 1973 were also taken over by MAS.
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MAS advises traders to make use of the services provided by MAS regulated brokers
There are many features of MAS Forex brokers which make them the sensible option for those wishing to safeguard their interests as much as possible. One of the most important is that segregated accounts have to be used to hold clients funds. A segregated account is one which keeps traders funds separate from those of the broker. This means should a broker go bust traders will still be able to withdraw their money. Any person or company providing financial services in Singapore is required to either be licensed, exempt or otherwise regulated by MAS. The official line of advice for any consumer looking for financial services is to only deal with those regulated by MAS. This is because its regime of rules and regulations are aimed at safeguarding consumers interests. This is achieved by ensuring only those who are competent and professional people are able to provide such services. MAS regulated Forex brokers are also required to disclose information relating to investment products being recommended to consumers. Choosing to deal with a person or company that is unregulated means you are not afforded the same protection under MAS laws. Especially if the person is based overseas.
MoneySENSE provides traders in Singapore with valuable information
MoneySENSE is a financial educational program which was launched in 2003. Its aim is to help consumers become more self-reliant in their financial affairs. At the head of MoneySENSE is the Financial Education Steering Committee which is chaired by MAS. So it seems that MAS in very much on the side of the consumer. Not just in upholding their rights and protecting investments but also in educating consumers so they are better able to take care of themselves and make the best possible financial decision. MoneySENSE keeps consumers informed in a number of different ways. One of them is by publishing consumer alerts. These alerts highlight some of the most common techniques used by financial service providers who aren’t regulated by MAS and the risks involved. One common way is to target consumers, both overseas and in Singapore, and giving a false impression they are operating in Singapore. It can sometimes happen that the unregulated person is using names similar to firms which are MAS regulated. The alerts also serve to give consumers advice relating to precautions it is possible to take to further protect themselves. MAS also publishes a list from time to time with information relating to unregulated person or entities that are incorrectly claiming to be licensed or authorized by MAS.
What to do if you have a problem with a MAS regulated broker
In the first instance, you should be contacting the financial institution you are having problems with, as they will be able to access all your records. MAS Forex brokers are expected to deal with any customer complaints in an effective and prompt way. Either speak to the representative directly or call the customer helpline. Should you be unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion you then have to write to the Quality Service department of the financial institution. The next step, if you are still unable to resolve the matter, is to get in touch with the Financial Industry Disputes Resolution Centre Ltd (FIDReC). This has to be done within 6 months of your last communication with the financial institution. FIDReC is an independent and affordable option for resolving problems you have been unable to resolve. It is also possible to approach the Consumers Association of Singapore or the Singapore Mediation Centre, or you may decide to bring your own case to court. This last option should be your last resort as it can be very time-consuming and costly. Before we finish, it is only prudent we point out that MAS regulated Forex brokers may soon be forced to limit margin requirements. Regulators across the globe are looking to set collateral requirements for non-cleared over the counter derivatives. Official statements are now delayed until the end of 2016, but it is certainly something you as a trader need to be aware of. After spending some time looking over the MAS website and reading some of the articles published in MoneySENSE we can only give MAS a big thumbs up for its regulatory work. It works tirelessly to ensure Forex brokers in Singapore and other financial institutions have the security of customers at the core of operations.